Divorce 101: Here's What You Need to Know About Child Custody Laws

Whether you and your partner are separating on amicable terms or not, it's important that you understand how custody laws work and how they'll affect you, your former spouse, and your children. Child Custody laws are designed to ensure that children retain as much normalcy in their life as possible. While divorce brings with it many changes, it's important to try to provide as much stability as possible for any children involved in the divorce. Whether you're simply considering divorce or you've already filed your paperwork, there are a few things you need to know about custody laws and divorce.

There are Different Types of Child Custody

The first thing you need to understand is that there are different types of child custody. The first type of custody is physical custody, and this determines where a child will live. Another type of custody is legal custody. Legal custody can be granted even if only one parent has physical custody of the child. This means that if you have physical custody of your child, your former spouse may be able to have a say in how your child is raised, where they'll go to school, and what type of religion your child will follow. Legal custody may also be used to make medical decisions for a child.

Your Child may Get a Say

Depending on the age of your child, they may have a say in where they'll live. Some children love the idea of living with each parent equally, while others want to reside with just one parent. If you and your former spouse are living in different states, it may not be possible to have shared custody, and in this case, a judge may ask your child who they prefer to live with. Typically, a judge will take many aspects of your relationship into consideration. The judge will consider your current lifestyles, financial stability, and who the child lives with currently.

Child Support Will Vary Based on Custody Arrangements

Even if a couple is appointed joint custody for their child, child support payments may be required from one partner to the other. This is because child support payments are designed to ensure the safety, well-being, and emotional comfort of the child. If your former spouse makes significantly less money than you, you may be required to pay child support. Similarly, if you are unable to care for your child in your current financial situation, your former spouse may pay you.

Remember that no matter what you think of your former spouse, it's important to put your differences aside as much as possible to ensure the emotional well-being of your child. It's not your child's fault you're getting divorced, but they may have a variety of emotions surrounding the divorce, including guilt, anger, and resentment. Talk openly with your child and try to continue to build your relationship during this difficult time. Remember that no matter what happens with your child custody arrangements, your child comes first.

If you have any questions concerning child custody in New Jersey, call the Law offices of Peter Van Aulen today at 201-845-7400 for a free consultation.

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