Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody
Child custody is a hot-button issue, especially in New Jersey. Recently or soon-to-be divorced parents are going to have multiple questions about their child(ren)’s future with them. Here are a few questions you might have, along with an answer to help you through this process.
Who gets custody of child(ren)?
In New Jersey, courts are required to make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child(ren). A child’s best interests include age, physical health, mental health, emotional needs, safety and a few other practical considerations such as the distance between each parents’ homes.
What are different types of custody?
- Sole physical custody – The child will live with one parent for the majority of the time. However, the child will be able to stay with the other parent for less than two nights per week, plus some vacation and holiday times.
- Shared physical custody – The child will be able to live with both parents for more than an overnight trip. It’s similar to joint custody where parents have equal time with the child.
- Joint physical custody – The parents have an equal say when it comes to decisions about the child. For instance, if one parent wants to move the child to another school, the other parent has a say in the matter.
- Sole legal custody – Only one parent can make decisions about the child’s life. This type of custody is pretty unusual; it occurs if the other parent in unavailable or has been deemed as an unfit.
You can learn more about each type of custody in this link.
What factors go into the court’s decision?
Aside from a child’s best interests, there are a number of factors that go into the decision being made by the court. They include and aren’t limited to:
- The ability of the parents to agree and cooperate with child-related manners.
- The relationship and interaction the child has with both parents.
- A parent’s willingness to accept child custody.
- A parent’s history of domestic abuse.
- A parent’s employment and financial status.
- The motive a parent might have for seeking custody
These are just a few factors that go into a court’s decision. A judge might look at more child-specific factors when determining custody too.
How can my child influence the decision?
The biggest influence a child might have in this decision is if the court asks a child what he or she wants. Depending on the child’s age and maturity, the more influence his or her voice will carry in the situation. However, there is no specific law to determine how old is old enough when making decisions like these. Typically, the court won’t listen to a child under the age of 8, but will listen if he or she is over the age of 12. This leaves a grey area between the ages of 8 and 12. Many of the above-mentioned answers fill in this grey area.
Do both parents have the same right to child support?
Each parent has an obligation to support his or her children. A father or mother (the custodial parent) has the right to ask for child support from the child’s other parent. If a parent does not hold up their end of the bargain, this matter could end up in court. The parent must explain why he or she couldn’t keep up on payments. If further action is needed, wage garnishment or seizure of assets could be the next steps taken.
If you are going through a divorce or need assistance in your child custody arrangements, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone now for a free consultation.