New Jersey courts, first and foremost, consider the best interests of a child when awarding custody whether the parents are married, going through a divorce, or are were never married. There is a presumption that both biological parents will retain legal custody.
Legal custody provides each parent with the right to make parenting decisions about the child’s education, medical care, and other major decisions. There is also a presumption that it is best for both parents to share responsibility for the child’s day-to-day care and well-being.
That is why, when joint residential custody is agreed upon or ordered by the court, it is often 50/50. Despite common misconceptions, mothers are not always awarded legal custody, nor is the parent with the highest income.
Every child custody situation is unique. Each Family Part judge may give different weight to the factors used in deciding custody matters, including but not limited to the age of the child, the child’s physical and psychological needs, and the ability of each parent to meet those needs.
Cowen & Jacobs’ child custody attorneys have over 35 years of experience in Bergen County Superior Court and in other New Jersey counties.
Armed with our depth of knowledge of the law and the practical workings of how the legal system functions, we are able to successfully fight on your behalf to ensure, whether by settlement or as ordered by the court, that the custody and parenting arrangement that you have determined is in your child’s best interests prevails.
To speak with our New Jersey child custody lawyers, contact Cowen & Jacobs right away to discover how we can best help you advocate for your child’s best interests.
As your lawyers, we will advise you regarding what factors a Family Part judge will take into consideration and how best to present your side of the issues. Family Part judges are charged with the ultimate responsibility to determine what custody and parenting time arrangements are in a child’s best interests.
When necessary, we will ask the court to order a “best interests” evaluation of a child by a forensic psychologist. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem who will conduct an investigation and provide a recommendation to the judge handling your case. Our family law attorneys excel at assisting you in settling legal custody and parenting disputes.
Settlement is favored by the Family Part judges due to the damaging effects that protracted litigation inflicts on children. However, if necessary, we have the skill and expertise to litigate on your behalf at trial or defend your interests on appeal.
Our child custody attorneys work with you to develop the evidence needed to support your case and show that your custody arrangement is in the best interest of your child or children.
Cowen & Jacobs is a Hackensack, New Jersey law firm focused on protecting the rights and interests of our clients, including those clients with complex child custody and parenting time issues.
Our experienced New Jersey child custody lawyers have successfully helped parents negotiate, or if necessary, litigate, or appeal a number of child custody and parenting issues:
We have also incorporated third parties into custody arrangements such as grandparents and step-parents, when dictated by the best interest of the child. Our child custody attorneys will work tirelessly with you to protect parental rights and get the best child custody and parenting time arrangement for your family.
There are many terms to be familiar with when you are thinking about what sort of child custody arrangement would be best for your family and engaging in custody negotiations. Here are some important definitions to know:
Whether married or unmarried, both biological parents share legal custody of their children. Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make major decisions for them such as schooling and medical care.
Most divorced parents or separated unmarried parents continue to share legal custody of their children and collaborate on their children’s upbringing. Respectful and consistent co-parenting, free from conflict, is always considered to be in a child’s best interests.
Unless the parties agree to 50/50 shared physical custody or it is ordered by the court, one parent will be considered the Parent of Primary Residence (PPR), meaning that the children reside with that parent most of the time. The other parent will be the Parent of Alternate Residence (PAR).
The number of overnights in the parenting plan will be a factor in determining the amount of child support payable by the PAR to the PPR. Whether a parent is the PPR or PAR, they continue to have equally shared legal custody, also referred to as joint legal custody.
Sole legal custody and sole physical custody of children are awarded to a parent in the relatively rare cases where the other parent is deemed by the court to be unfit, or is unable to or refuses to co-parent in the child’s best interests.
It is always considered to be in the child’s best interests to have a close and loving relationship with each parent. Therefore, regardless of which parent is the PPR or even if one parent has sole legal and physical custody, there must be an opportunity in most instances, for the child to spend time alone with each parent.
A parenting plan can be very detailed in order to avoid any ambiguity and post-judgment conflict. General speaking the parenting plan will set forth at least the following terms including but not limited to:
Our child custody lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping parents negotiate and craft child custody arrangements that serve the best interests of their children.
If you need help negotiating, litigating, or modifying your child custody arrangement, contact our child custody lawyers. Put an experienced and dedicated attorney to work for your family.
Are you ready to get started on your case with a consultation? With over 35 years of experience, our child custody attorneys are ready to fight for you. Reach out to us today to see what Cowen & Jacobs can do to assist you in your journey through the legal system, which can be very stressful, particularly with regard to child related issues.
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