Guidance for Decisions About Custody
In many divorces, two of the most important decisions a family will make involve where the children will live and what role each parent will play in their lives. As with many aspects of the end of a marriage, the approach you and your legal counsel use when determining custody matters can significantly affect your relationships with your former spouse and your children.
The Mercer County child custody attorneys at Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC are mindful of the lingering impact that divorce negotiations and proceedings can have on these relationships. We help clients in Pennington and surrounding areas achieve fair resolutions for disputes regarding child custody and modifications.
Achieving a Resolution in the Best Interests of the Children
Our lawyers will provide you with counsel and guidance for determining both types of custody in New Jersey.
- Physical custody involves where the child will reside. Physical custody can be shared, meaning the child lives a significant amount of time with each parent, or sole, meaning the child lives primarily with one parent and has parenting time with the other parent.
- Legal custody involves the rights of both parents to make decisions about their children’s education, health care and other important parts of a child’s life. As a practical matter, there is often an award of joint legal custody, although sole custody is sometimes established.
Decisions about custody are made with the best interests of the children as a guide. If you and your former spouse cannot reach an agreement on custody, the court will make a determination based on factors such as parental fitness and ability, current living arrangements and the preferences of your children, depending on their age and ability to explain their preference.
Parenting-Time and Visitation Attorney
Even when an award of sole physical custody is made, the noncustodial parent and child will still have a relationship. Parenting time, formerly called visitation, is the amount of time that a child spends with the noncustodial parent.
Counsel for the Modification of Custody and Parenting Time Arrangements
Custody and parenting time arrangements and orders are always subject to modification upon a showing of changed circumstances. Whether a change in circumstances has occurred is fact sensitive and will depend on the circumstances at the time the custody and parenting time arrangement was established versus the circumstances existing now. At times, simple logistical changes occur. In other cases, one or both parents’ relationship with a child goes through changes as the child matures. In other cases, serious disagreements between parents on co-parenting issues can create a situation where changes in custody or parenting plans become necessary. In each of these cases, the court will be to seek to protect and promote the best interest of the child when determining whether a change to the current custody and parenting time plan is appropriate.
When a custodial parent seeks to relocate after a divorce is finalized, he or she needs either the permission of the non-custodial parent or court approval before relocating.
When the non-custodial parent does not approve of the move, the court will evaluate how the relocation affects the best interests of the child.
However, for intrastate relocations or moves within the State of New Jersey, the burden is first on the non-custodial parent to prove that the move constitutes a change in circumstances affecting the best of the children.
The attorneys at Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC have experience negotiating and litigating interstate and interstate relocation matters. If you are seeking to relocate or defending against an application to relocate our attorneys can assist you.