Child Custody and Visitation
Custody can be divided up into two parts, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody means that the parent has the ability to make the major decisions about the child’s health, education, safety and welfare. In New Jersey there is a presumption that the parents will share joint legal custody. Physical or residential custody refers to which parent the child lives with, and what the parenting schedule will be.
In making a custody determination, there are a number of mandatory factors which the Legislature has directed the Court consider:
- the parents' ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child;
- the parents' willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
- the interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings;
- the history of domestic violence, if any;
- the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
- the preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;
- the needs of the child;
- the stability of the home environment offered;
- the quality and continuity of the child's education;
- the fitness of the parents;
- the geographical proximity of the parents' homes;
- the extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation;
- the parents' employment responsibilities; and
- the age and number of the children.
Given the complexities involved with Child Custody and Visitation, we advise you to contact one of our experienced family law attorneys at 908-735-5161 at Gebhardt & Kiefer today. We handle Custody, Visitation, Parenting Time and family law issues throughout New Jersey.