HIGH-QUALITY REPRESENTATION IN DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW MATTERS
Child custody is split into two categories: physical and legal.
Physical custody determines who the child physically lives with. When a parent has sole physical custody, it means that the child lives with them almost exclusively. Shared physical custody allows parents closer to equal, or exactly equal, time with the child.
Legal custody determines which parent makes major decisions on behalf of the child regarding the child's health, education and general welfare. Sole legal custody is uncommon and is most often put in place by a judge after a parent is deemed unfit since the public policy of New Jersey is to encourage both parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing (when possible and beneficial to the child's best interests).
Child custody is one of the most misunderstood aspects of family law. There are three types of custodial plans (i.e. – Agreements that address child custody): Joint Legal Custody plans; Joint Legal AND Joint Physical Custody plans; or Sole Custody plans. The distinction between and among these three alternatives has to do with the decision-making authority each parent receives.
Under Joint Legal Custodial plans, the child(ren) lives with one parent for more than 50% of the overnight time. This parent is referred to as the “primary custodial parent” while the other parent (who has the child for less than 50% of the overnight time) is referred to as the “parent of alternate residence.”
Under Joint Legal and Joint Physical Custodial plans, the child(ren) lives with both parents approximately 50% of the overnight time. Since neither parent has the child(ren) for more than 50% of the overnight time, neither parent is referred to as the “parent of primary residence” under this type of Custodial plan.
Lastly, under Sole Custody plans, the child(ren) lives primarily with one parent and that parent has the authority to make all major decisions for the child(ren) without the need to discuss the decision with the other parent. Given the one-sided nature of this type of Custodial setting, Sole Custodial plans are not common today and are used sparingly for those limited settings where the parents are unable to communicate with one another to address important decisions involving the health, education and welfare of their child(ren). Sole Custodial plans may be used in settings where a Domestic Violence Order of Restraint is in place that prohibits the parties from communicating with one another.
A well-written parenting plan is essential when determining child custody and may be required by a judge. These plans detail how parents will responsibly achieve their child-raising duties. Parenting plans often include:
- A daily schedule of which parent the child will be with.
- The amount of child support to be paid.
- The division of physical and legal custody.
- The responsibilities of each parent.
- The extent of the rights of other parties, including stepparents and relatives.
The attorneys at Diamond & Diamond, P.A., can assist in creating comprehensive parenting plans. Tempers often flare in conversations about child custody and child support. Our experienced mediators and arbitrators provide the services needed to create a plan that fits our clients' needs.
Individuals often need additional financial support after a divorce, especially when children are involved. Child support is money paid to the custodial parent by the noncustodial parent to maintain a satisfactory level of care.
Similarly, alimony is a payment made to a spouse after divorce when they need additional funds to become financially self-sufficient again. Alimony in New Jersey is most often temporary and ends when the spouse is no longer in need. Reach out to our child custody attorneys in Short Hills or Fork River today.
The child custody attorneys of Diamond & Diamond, P.A., can help you in these and other family law-related matters. Call our lawyers at (973) 379-9292 or email us for an initial consultation. Proudly serving all of New Jersey.