Experienced Hackensack Joint Custody Lawyers
Standing Up for Your Shared Child Custody Interests
Divorce and separations split up families and affect the most precious of relationships—the one between parents and children. As a responsible and loving parent, you want to nurture that precious bond by spending time with your child and being involved in major decisions regarding their welfare and upbringing. While you may have ideas about how you and your ex will handle custody, it’s best to fully understand all your options first.
Our joint custody attorneys at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC, understand the anxiety many parents face when child custody is being decided. We want to help you achieve a joint custody arrangement that is beneficial for you and your child. To speak with our Hackensack joint custody lawyers call us at (201) 880-9770.
Understanding Joint Custody in New Jersey
Our Joint Custody Lawyers Pursue the Best Possible Arrangements
Joint custody arrangements, also called “shared custody,” keep both parents as equally involved as possible in their child’s life. It is also a priority of the court that parents share in child-rearing responsibilities. New Jersey’s child custody law (NJSA 9:2-4) states:
“… it is in the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing ….”
There are various types of joint custody arrangements. What type of joint custody is in the best interests of your child will be agreed upon or determined by the courts.
A joint custody arrangement may include:
- Joint legal custody – Both parents share major decision making about the child. This includes regarding education, medical care, religious upbringing and other critical areas. It’s the preferred custody arrangement by the courts if it is in the best interest of the children.
- Joint physical or residential custody – In joint physical or residential custody arrangements, the child alternates living with both parents as equally as possible, in accordance with the established parenting time schedule so long as same is in the best interest of the children.
- Joint legal custody with one parent having primary physical custody – The logistics of moving back and forth from one home to another may not be practical, and in fact may be detrimental to some children. Often in joint custody arrangements, both parents will have legal decision-making authority, but the child will spend more of their time with one parent. The parent who doesn’t have the child as often is the parent of alternate residence.
Sole legal and physical custody are also possible in some cases. These situations are rare. However, there are situations where it might be appropriate for a child not to see the other parent or that parent not have any say in the decision making of that child. All of this will be governed by the best interest of the child.
How is Joint Custody Decided? Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Joint Custody?
The core issue in making joint custody decisions is the child’s best interests. If both parents agree to a joint custody arrangement, they can consent and put their agreement down onto paper. Then, that agreement can become a Court order by requesting that the Judge sign it. If the parents want to make changes to their consent agreement later, they may do so without going back to the court but they both must agree. Best practices would be for them to put the new arrangement down on paper again and notarize it. If one parent does not agree, then there is no deal.
A joint custody agreement must consider your child’s best interests. Also, if you rush into an agreement and change your mind later, it may be harder to fix unless you meet certain legal qualifications. This issue and resolution of it is not something you want to approach lightly or in haste.
Going through this complicated legal process alone can put you at a serious disadvantage. When so much is at stake in gaining equal custody of your child, it’s very important to retain an experienced attorney.
Our Hackensack joint custody attorneys at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC can help you in negotiations with your ex and make sure your rights are safeguarded, appropriate, and sets the entire family (and most importantly, your children) up for success. . And should you not be able to reach an agreement with your ex-spouse or past partner on your own, you will certainly need our skilled joint custody lawyers on your side to negotiate and argue your legal position.
What Do Judges Consider in Deciding Custody Disputes?
In determining custody, including whether joint custody should be awarded, judges consider many things. State statute NJSA 9:2-4(c) states that a judge needs to consider the following issues in a custody case, as well as any other factors they deem important:
- The parents’ ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate concerning their child
- The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any past unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on proven abuse
- The interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings
- Past domestic violence, if any
- The child’s safety and either parent’s safety from physical abuse by the other parent
- The child’s preference if they’re old enough and mature enough to form an intelligent decision
- The child’s needs
- The home environment’s stability
- The quality and continuity of the child’s education
- The parent’s fitness
- How far apart the parents’ homes are
- The quality and quantity of the time spent with the child before or after the parents’ separation
- The parents’ job responsibilities
- The age and number of the children.
The law says that both parents start out on equal footing in custody decisions. Gender is not supposed to matter. But for some fathers, it may not always feel this way. There is a perceived bias. If you feel that past traditions leaning toward mothers being named primary caregivers may influence whether you get joint custody, reach out to MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC today. We understand the law, and we will work to make sure it is applied fairly in your child custody case.
Call our joint custody lawyers today at (201) 880-9770.
How Can I Make Joint Custody Work?
Tips from Our Joint Custody Attorneys
There’s a reason you’re getting a divorce or breaking off a relationship, and it’s possible you and your soon-to-be-ex didn’t agree on all things while you were together. If you have joint legal custody, now you’ll need to agree on major decisions regarding your children’s upbringing. Parents who are in joint custody situations must make it work on behalf of their children. If you have shared physical custody or one parent has main physical custody and the other is the parent of alternate residence, you will need to cooperate with each other to make it work with the least amount of stress for you and your children.
Here are a few tips to make your shared custody arrangement work for your children’s benefit and yours:
- Don’t speak poorly about your ex. Your child loves you both and may internalize the bad things you say about the other parent. They may begin to feel anger toward that parent or toward you.
- Remember that joint custody is about your child’s well-being. It was awarded to you because a court believed it was in your child’s best interest to have both you and your ex in your child’s life. Don’t make it about winning a competition with your ex.
- Find a positive way to communicate with your ex-spouse about your child, whether it’s through texting, emailing or talking on the phone. But if things appear to be taking a sour turn and you may need legal assistance, be sure to save written communications and take notes about phone conversations.
- Be fair and flexible with your parenting arrangements and consider modifying them as your child’s interest’s change, family schedules change and other commitments arise.
- Don’t fight over small issues involving your child. Pick your battles wisely, but also stick to your guns on the issues you feel strongly about, such as school choices, healthcare matters, or if your parenting time is being infringed upon. If you can’t work something out, contact our office, we can help you negotiate the issue and, if necessary, get a mediator or the court involved.
- Listen to your child and let them express their feelings about the divorce and custody arrangements. Depending on how old they are, you might even allow them some say in decisions.
Our child custody lawyers know it can be tough to navigate parenting after divorce. To get help in developing and negotiating a joint child custody agreement or, if need be, litigating one in the courtroom, contact our team today. Having a skilled, experienced, and compassionate attorney who knows how to protect the rights of you and your children is a great first step toward reaching a joint custody arrangement that works well.
Contact Our Skilled Joint Custody Lawyers in New Jersey for Assistance
You must create the joint custody arrangement you think will work for everyone, and it may need to change over time as life changes, job change, family dynamics change, and the children grow older. Ideally, both parents will do their best and make things work in the short term and over the long run. If not, our Hackensack joint custody lawyers can help you through difficulties caused by an unreasonable ex.
MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC, is here for you whether you’re pursuing joint legal and/or physical custody of your child or a joint custody agreement is no longer appropriate for you and your child. Reach out to our office today to schedule a consultation by calling us at (201) 880-9770. We can discuss your situation and the best solutions for you and your child.