How To Get Sole Custody: Some Circumstances Suggest Sole Custody
There are some circumstances where the law suggests there should be sole custody. One, where theres a chronic history of lack of communication and the parents cant work in the childs best interest. For example, a narcissist parent who has consistently used their child as a pawn to harm their ex may ultimately lose custody if that behavior has damaged their child. Again, just because your ex is a narcissist doesnt mean she will not be entitled to joint custody. Her behavior has to actually be in conflict with the best interest of your child for a judge to seriously consider awarding you sole custody.
Another indicator that would suggest sole custody is the issuance of a final restraining order. Now, the issuance of a final restraining order actually carries with it a presumption that the recipient should have sole custody, but I still find that most judges will resist as much as possible, actually giving that phrase in the final restraining order because of all the reasons I mentioned before. They dont want to do that, so you almost have to go in there knowing that your restraining order will carry presumption and fight to get that. Even if you do get it in your final restraining order, in my experience, it can be changed subsequently very easily, and again, for all the reasons that Ive mentioned, you may not be able to hold on to permanent sole custody.
New Jersey Child Custody Options And Arrangements
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In New Jersey, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to devising child custody arrangements. Your child custody plan is uniquely based on your childrens best interests, and other factors, including what is practical and reasonable for your family.
When considering your child custody options, it is important to recognize that in New Jersey, child custody arrangements generally consist of two parts:
Within each part, New Jersey child custody laws provide several different options to choose from, based on your familys circumstances. Learning about these New Jersey child custody options and educating yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of each is essential. This is especially true if you are looking to establish an arrangement both you and your children can live with well into the future.
Contact The Knowledgeable Family Law Attorneys At Smedley Law Group In West Deptford Nj Today
If youre thinking about filing for divorce, youll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so youll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including Williamstown, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why well fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
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New Jersey Child Custody Attorneys
New Jersey child custody laws protect the welfare of the child. Under child custody laws, the Family Courts have jurisdiction over child custody cases. Either joint or sole custody can be awarded to the parent, and the primary guideline is the best interests of the child. The court may award one of three types of custody arrangements: joint legal custody to both parents, where one parent is responsible for residential custody joint physical custody, where both parents provide homes for the child or sole custody to one parent with parenting time allowed to the non-custodial parent.
In awarding joint legal custody, the judge allows both parents to share responsibilities for decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of the child. Physical, or residential, custody includes legal custody, but also specifies that the child live in the residence of one of the parents with scheduled parenting time with the other parent.
Does A Single Mother Automatically Have Sole Child Custody
More and more people nationwide, including in New Jersey, choose not to marry. A significant percentage of children are born out of wedlock, and while many couples parent those children in the same way that married parents would do, there are cases in which there are absent fathers. If a child is born and the birth certificate indicates no father, the mother might have questions about her legal child custody rights.
Does the fact that there is no father indicated give the mother sole custody of the child? Does she have to apply for legal custody rights as the single parent? What will happen if the father chooses to claim custody rights in the future? While the child custody laws vary from state to state, all the courts base their decisions about these matters on the best interests of the child.
On the other hand, there are many advocates for the importance of having both parents present in a childs life. Based on that, mothers might have a hard time denying the father access to the child except if there is proof of abuse or other dangers to the child. However, the only way in which an unmarried father can get legal custody would be to establish paternity legally.
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What Happens If Parents Can’t Agree On Custody Or Parenting Time
If parents can’t resolve their custody or parenting time issues, the court will order them to participate in mediation, unless there are circumstances exempting them from the mediation process, such as when domestic violence is present in the marriage.
Courts may also order custody evaluations. These are carried out by trained mental-health professionals who will make an assessment of the existing circumstances, and present a non-binding recommendation to the court as to what custody and parenting time arrangements they feel are in the best interests of the children. Custody evaluators charge for their services, and their fee is payable by the parents.
The court can also order an investigation to be made by the Family Division. Among other things, this inquiry will look at:
- the parents’ character and fitness
- the economic condition of the family
- the parents’ homes
- the existence of appropriate child safety precautions in the home
- the number of household members and their relationship to the child, and
- criminal record checks for both parents.
Note that if the court determines that the children need someone to speak on their behalf, it can appoint a guardian ad litem . This is usually an attorney, who will interview the children and the parents as well as any other person who has pertinent information. The GAL can also obtain any relevant documentation. The GAL will submit a report to the court, with findings and recommendations.
Essential Tips For Seeking Sole Custody In New Jersey Family Court
Essential Tips for Seeking Sole Custody
At our New Jersey family law firm, our NJ child custody attorneys frequently receive inquiries from prospective clients about seeking sole custody of their children. A request for sole custody can be complicated because many parties to a divorce do not clearly understand that sole custody” is actually a misnomer because there are two types of custody legal custody and physical custody so the term sole custody can apply to legal custody, which involves notice and input on major decisions regarding the childrens education and welfare or to physical custody, which refers to where your children live. Many parents who inquire about sole custody wish to receive sole custody in both senses, but this is extremely uncommon.
While physical custody may be awarded to one parent who is designated the residential parent” , legal custody is almost always joint unless the court determines at a plenary hearing based on specific evidence that one of the parents is unfit,” which may be based on substance abuse, history of child abuse or neglect, violent felony record of a parent, pattern of domestic violence against the other parent or similar types of issues that present a serious threat to the well-being or safety of minor children.
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Do Grandparents Have Custody And Visitation Rights
Only in limited circumstances. The grandparent has the burden of proof that visitation is in the best interests of the child, and they bear the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that visitation is necessary to avoid harm to the child. The court must also consider factors such as the relationship between the child and grandparent and the biological parents desires.
The bottom line on this issue is if the grandparent can meet the burden that their visitation is necessary to avoid harm to the child, then the parent who has custody of the child probably should not have the child, since the child will be in harms way without the grandparents.
Under What Circumstances Could A Grandparent Be Granted Custody Of A Child In New Jersey
When New Jersey courts believe that one parent is parentally unfit, they will often grant the other parent sole custody of the child. This is usually the case when one parent either has a substance abuse issue, is mentally impaired, or has exposed the child to domestic abuse. That being said, there are times where both parents are deemed unfit to raise the child, in which case New Jersey courts will look to outside parties to find a more stable home for the child, at least until one or both parents get their lives back on track.
Additional circumstances that may warrant a grandparent obtaining custody of a child include the childs parents being deceased, or even certain situations where parents willingly relinquish child custody to the grandparents. For a grandparent to obtain custody of a child, that grandparent will have to file a petition for custody with the court. If you believe it would be in the best interests of your grandchild for you, as a grandparent, to obtain child custody, please do not hesitate to speak with our experienced Chatham family law attorneys today to learn more about how we can help you.
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What Constitutes An Unfit Parent In Nj Custody Cases
The only time this isn’t true is if there are circumstances that make this arrangement harmful to the child’s best interest. The court may deem a parent to be “unfit” if they:
- Have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Have a history of domestic violence
- Have demonstrated no interest in caring for or supporting the child’s well-being
Other conditions that may contribute to deviating from a joint legal and physical custody arrangement include:
- One parent is the primary caretaker for the majority of the child’s life.
- The child has siblings.
Sole Vs Joint Physical Custody Laws In Nj
Physical custody refers to where the child resides. There is both joint and sole physical custody, as well.
With joint custody, the parents generally split time with the child equally. There are multiple ways to achieve this, including an alternating weekly schedule. Sole physical custody is when a child primarily resides with one parent and then may have visitation with the other parent.
The amount of visitation time with the other parent is either determined by a judge or by an agreement made between both parties.
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Pros And Cons Of Sole Legal Custody
It’s important to remember that sole legal custody is different from sole physical custody. With sole physical custody, the children reside at one location. Sometimes the non-custodial parent will still get visitation rights including sleepovers and vacations together.
But other than that, one parent has physical custody of the child. The only time visitation does not occur is when it’s unsafe for the children to be with the non-custodial parent because of issues like abuse, neglect, instability, or substance misuse.
Having sole physical custody does not give one parent the right to make all the decisions though. For that to happen, they need to also have sole legal custody. This type of custody gives one parent the legal right to make all decisions regarding the children.
Sometimes physical custody and sole legal custody are awarded together, but this is not always the case. A parent can have physical custody and not have sole legal custody or vice versa.
In many states, sole legal custody is becoming less common unless joint legal custody is deemed unsafe for the child. As a result, joint legal custodywhich means parents share in the decision-making is becoming the default decision in many family court systems. Here are the pros and cons of sole legal custody.
Camden County Child Custody Attorney
The stakes can be high when Camden County Family Court decides the custody of a child or children. The first step in any custody case in Camden is not only properly filing for custody, but making your position as strong as possible when initiating a custody action. A New Jersey attorney experienced with Camden County Family Court practice and procedure can not only help you draft the best possible Complaint, but can provide you with the advice and advocacy needed to get your position heard and recognized. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento to learn how he can help with your Camden County custody case.
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Attend Mediation And/or Hearing
Before mediation or a hearing is scheduled, the court must wait for a response to your motion from the other party. Courts typically offer three to four weeks for the other parent to respond.
If the other party does not respond, the court will usually offer a default judgment, meaning that they will rule in favor of the custody arrangement you have laid out in your petition. Once a response from the other party is received, the court will schedule a mediation or a hearing.
Fathers Need To Establish Paternity
An unmarried father has no parental rights to a child unless his paternity has been established. This can be done by both parents agreeing on the identity of the father, and the father voluntarily accepting his rights and responsibilities. If there is a question as to who the father is or if one parent is disputing a claim, a court-ordered DNA test may be necessary to establish proper paternity.
If paternity has been established, then unmarried mothers and fathers have the same child custody rights to their children as those that are granted to divorcing parents. This means that parents may seek sole custody of a child or joint custody between the two parents. Parental relocation issues may also arise if one parent is planning to move out of New Jersey. Our legal team at the law firm of Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C., can help you with any issues related to your parental rights.
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What Is Joint Legal Custody
Parents with joint legal custody both have the right to participate in making major decisions for a child. Sometimes parents agree to share legal custody over some matters but not others.
For example, they might decide that only one parent will be involved in major educational decisions, but both of them will participate in all other significant decisions. Joint legal custody is very common in New Jersey, even when the child primarily resides with one parent, and it is by far the preferred outcome of custody cases. .)
Can Parents Share Legal Custody
Yes. In fact, in most circumstances, courts will give both parents legal custody. This is known as sharing joint legal custody. This means that both parents have the right to make major decisions for the child and both parents have the right to input on these decisions. This also allows both parents access to the childs school and medical records. Both parents should work together on making these life decisions on behalf of their children and cannot make these types of decisions on their own. If parents who share joint legal custody cannot agree, they have to take the dispute to the judge.
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The Judge In My Case Ordered A Custody Evaluation And Recommended A Joint Psychologist To Evaluate Me My Ex And My Child Who Is 11 Years Old I Read The Report And I Disagree With Much Of It I Want To Respond To The Report So The Judge Knows What Is Incorrect And What I Disagree With How Can I Respond
Your best course of action at this point is to hire your own independent psychologist to conduct their own evaluations and submit a separate report after their evaluations are completed. This is really the most effective way to rebut any conclusions in the first experts report that you believe are inaccurate. Be sure, however, that you are not contesting the report simply because you do not care for the findings as this will could serve to make you appear unreasonable to the judge. Also, be aware that you will most likely have to foot the bill for a new psychologists fees. Consider using the services of a family law attorney who can guide you through this process.