Custody is the legal responsibility for the care of minor children—those younger than 18 years old. In family law, there are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about your child’s life, such as where your child goes to school and what type of religious practices he or she observes. Physical custody refers to the day-to-day care and supervision of your child. A family lawyer can explain the different types of custody within these categories, including sole residential custody and joint legal custody.

?The New Jersey Legislature has found that it is in the public interest for a child to have continuing contact with both of his or her parents, and for courts to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. New Jersey does not favor one parent over the other, but rather tries to determine what is in the best interests of the child. A family lawyer will fight for the rights of the parent by presenting information showing that the desired outcome is in the best interest of the child. Here are some of the factors that New Jersey courts will consider in custody cases:

  • Child’s relationship with his or her parents
  • Each parent’s ability to communicate with the other
  • Each parent’s ability to cooperate in child-related matters
  • History of a parent’s unwillingness to cooperate with a custody agreement
  • Fitness of each parent
  • Age and number of children
  • Child’s preference, if he or she is of a sufficient age and has the capacity to reason
  • History of domestic abuse
  • Stability of the home environment offered by each parent
  • Child’s needs
  • Geographic proximity of parents’ homes
  • Each parent’s employment responsibility
  • Quality and continuity of child’s education

Custody cases can be complex, and a family lawyer is often necessary to protect your rights and advocate for what is best for your children. The Law Firm of Walter K. Schreyer is a full-service law firm practicing in New York and New Jersey that can assist you in your family law case. Contact us at (888) 511-2837 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help.

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