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Understand Your Options For Child Custody

Your children are your world. They mean everything to you. At Bastarrika, Soto, Gonzalez & Somohano, L.L.P., in Woodland Park, we get it. We will fight to protect your children and your right to be with them. We will also help you shield your children from the damaging effects of a complicated divorce or child custody dispute.

Answering Your Child Custody Questions

We know how important it is to you and your family to get custody arrangements right the first time, and we will help you do just that. In the meantime, please read some answers to common questions many New Jersey parents have about child custody.

What Are Sole, Primary And Joint Physical Custody?

New Jersey law recognizes sole, primary and joint physical custody. Sole physical custody places children full-time with one parent. This is usually only used when there is a history of child abuse. In primary custody, the children reside with one parent, and the other is granted visitation rights. With joint physical custody, the children split time between two households, although not necessarily equally.

What Are The Differences Between Physical Custody And Legal Custody?

Physical custody gives a parent the right to provide a home and daily care to a child. Legal custody describes the ability to make important decisions for a child, including medical care and schooling. In most cases, joint legal custody is awarded.

How Do Courts Determine Child Custody?

When a court must rule on a custody dispute, the law requires consideration of numerous variables.

A judge will weigh the following factors:

  • The ability of parents to communicate
  • Relationships among children, parents and siblings
  • Physical and emotional needs of children
  • Nature of home environments
  • The overall fitness of parents
  • Distance between parents’ homes
  • Demands for parental jobs
  • Number and age of children
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • The child’s preferences (if old enough)

Accusations of violence in the home complicate the child custody process. Judges must consider domestic violence when determining what is in the best interests of the child. Our lawyers will strive to defend you from false charges or protect you and your children from a potential abuser.

Does The Law Favor Mothers Over Fathers?

Although many people falsely believe that the law will favor mothers over fathers, family law judges generally place the best interests of the children over the gender of a parent.

How Can I Modify My Child Custody Order?

Only a court can officially modify a child custody order issued as part of a divorce. Parents who agree on a new arrangement can put it in writing and submit it to the court for its review. When parents are not in agreement, they can file a motion with the court to modify child custody. Parental relocation and the presence of drug or alcohol abuse are examples of reasons a judge might approve a modification.

Don’t Wait To Get The Child Custody Answers You Need

Our legal support could help you make informed decisions about matters vital to your family. Give us a call at 973-370-0997 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.