About Child Custody

When children are involved the decision to end a relationship can be particularly complicated. Often times decisions about how children will divide time between two households, and whether one or both parents will be responsible for major decisions about things like children’s health-care, education, and religious upbringing are very difficult to make and agree upon. Whether you and your former partner essentially agree on child custody arrangements or you have so many disagreements that you may be facing court intervention, you need an experienced and dedicated attorney on your side to assist you with your legal needs. Schedule a personal consultation today so that we can provide you with advice that fits your unique situation.

This is your kids. Nothing is more important than that. Do not let the other party dictate to you when you will see them and for how long. It is important that your opinion matters here, and that your rights are protected.

In New Jersey, courts refer to time parents spend with their children as “parenting time,” rather than “visitation.” This acknowledges the importance of each parent’s role, regardless of whether a child spends nearly equal time with each parent or lives with one parent most of the time. Whatever your child custody arrangement, there will be various options available for structuring parenting time. If you and your child’s other parent already have a decision about the basic form of child custody you will be following, the Law Office of Steven H. Wolff can help you craft a sensible New Jersey parenting plan designed to meet the needs of your family both now and well into the future.

Courts in New Jersey can order many different custodial arrangements for children, including sole custody, joint legal custody, and shared legal and physical custody. In considering the most appropriate arrangement for your child, it is important to recognize that New Jersey child custody includes both physical custody, which governs where your child will live, and legal custody, which governs which parent or parents have decision-making authority regarding how your child will be raised and cared for.

If you and the other party cannot agree on custody and parenting time, then the Court will have to make a decision. It is vital that you have an attorney who knows what the Court looks at when deciding these issues. Child Custody cases are some the most difficult cases for a Court to decide. They are often very emotional and hostile. Child custody laws in NJ require courts to determine what is in the best interest of the child. The child custody statute in New Jersey states the following factors which the Courts must consider in in determining what is in the best interest of the child:

  1. The parents’ capacities to be able cooperate, communicate and agree about issues in regard to the child.
  2. The parents’ readiness to accept custody and any history of refusal to allow the other party to have parenting time not based on corroborated abuse.
  3. The dealings and relationship between the parent, child and siblings.
  4. The history of Domestic Violence.
  5. The safety of the parent and the safety of the child from any abuse by the other parent.
  6. The child’s preference when they are of appropriate capability and age to form an intelligent choice.
  7. The needs of the child.
  8. The stability of each party’s home environment.
  9. The quality and continuity of child’s education.
  10. Each parents fitness.
  11. How close each parent lives from each other.
  12. The quality of time each parent spent with the child before separation.
  13. Each parent’s employment responsibilities.
  14. The number and age of children.

Expert reports and testimony may come into play when determining these issues. A custody parenting time evaluation may be performed before trial. The evaluation is conducted by psychologist and they will produce a report. The evaluator will interview each party and depending on the age the child. Further, the evaluator may interview other relevant individuals, request psychological, medical and school records. Said report usually has a large impact on the Court’s award of custody. The parties can agree on a joint expert or each party could hire their own expert. It is imperative that you have an attorney well versed in dealing with strengthening your case by use of experts, and being able to disprove the allegations and assertions made by the other party’s expert.

If you need to establish custody and visitation, or if you need to make a change to the existing custody arrangement, do not hesitate to contact us at the Law Office of Steven H. Wolff. There is nothing more important than your children. Do not hesitate another day.