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Child Custody Laws

Child custody represents one of the more complex and highly contested elements of many divorce cases. With that in mind, it is important for a person contemplating ending a marriage to have a basic understanding of the five most essential facts about NJ custody laws. You should consult an experienced New Jersey child custody lawyer.

Two Different Types of Custody Under NJ Custody Laws

There are two different types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody represents the legal ability of a parent to maintain a residence for a minor child. Legal custody is the right of a parent to make major life decisions on behalf of a minor child. Major life decisions refer to significant matters that include healthcare, religion, and education.

Joint Versus Sole Custody Under Child Custody Laws in New Jersey

Physical and legal custody can be exercised in a number of different ways. Two common types of physical and legal custody are joint and sole. Joint custody is when both parents exercise some manner of a custodial right, whether it is physical or legal. In sole custody, only one parent has the right to custody.

Preference for Joint Custody Under NJ Custody Laws

Overall, public policy maintains a preference that both parents remain involved in the life of a minor child in the aftermath of a divorce. Therefore, there tends to be a preference for joint legal custody, which permits both parents involvement in decision making for child.

Custody and the Desires of Minor Child in New Jersey

State laws vary regarding when and how a minor child can express a preference regarding custody arrangements. This usually involves the matter of where the child wants to reside. Some states consider a child's emotional maturity in custody determinations. If a child has the emotional maturity to understand the custody process, a judge is likely to consider his or her wishes when making a custody determination. Some states establish an age-related set of guidelines regarding when and to what degree a child's wishes are considered in the matter. Technically, however, a child's preference is never absolute when it comes to a custody determination.

Best Interests of a Child Under NJ Custody Laws

The standard applied by a court in making a custody decision is what is in the best interests of a child. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis, considering a variety of factors. These include which parent has been the child's primary caretaker and the overall physical and mental health of the parents and child. Custody issues are challenging. Therefore, a party facing such a matter is advised to retain the services of a skilled, capable New Jersey child custody lawyer.

Peter Van Aulen is a divorce and family law attorney with years of experience. Also, Mr. Van Aulen has been certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a matrimonial attorney. If you are facing a divorce, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen today for a free initial consultation with a New Jersey child custody lawyer.

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances