When heading to family court, joint custody is generally the desired outcome for all parties. According to New Jersey Law parents are equally responsible for the upbringing of their child. However, that does not necessarily mean that the child(ren) will spend equal time with both parents. It simply means that the responsibility is shared evenly.
It’s up to the parents to come to a mutual agreement on how much time the children will spend with each parent, as well as working out visitation days and times including holidays and vacations. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then it will be down to the judge hearing the case to make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
The judge will review all of the facts and information with regards to the case, and will likely speak to the children in chambers in order to make a fair judgement. In New Jersey family court, the judge always works towards the children’s best interests. One parent isn’t favored over another. What the judge wants to see is parents that are interesting in maintaining a healthy relationship for the benefit of their children.
While the separation process might be painful for everyone involved, it can affect children deeply. Thus, it is vital that the parents can keep the divorce process separate from the child custody process. With professional attorneys at your side, advising you through the process you can focus on healing the damage that has been done.
To come to an agreement on joint custody, you would generally sit down with a mediator first and come to an agreement. If the parents have not done this before heading to the court, the judge is likely to send the parties to a mediator to go through this process. The ideal situation is that the parents can reach a mutual agreement that has the best interests of the children at heart.
In some cases, there may be a need to pursue sole custody. In those situations, your lawyer can draw up a parenting plan for both parties to sign. Joint custody is the norm, sole legal custody is generally in the cases of violence, or substance abuse issues.
Once the parenting plan is taken to court and the judge signs off on it, it becomes a legally binding contract.
If you wish to make any changes to the parenting plan, then there must be significant changes in circumstances. This could be one party losing their job, or someone looking to relocate. Changes to the parenting plan must be made through the court.
We understand that you are already going through a stressful and emotional time. The breakdown of a relationship can be a difficult situation to get through, which is why we offer support and advice.
If you have questions about your specific case, then call our office to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our expert attorneys.
Call 732-414-6669 and get the legal advice you need.