Both fathers and mothers love their children deeply, even if their marriage is headed to divorce. Some parents, especially fathers, may be concerned about how much time they will get to spend with their child if they divorce. Fortunately, New Jersey law protect the rights of both parents and the best interests of the child.
In times past it was assumed that mothers were presumed to be the best caretakers of their child. Mothers generally got primary custody in a divorce and fathers were limited to visitation periods.
Times have changed, however. New Jersey laws on child custody are gender neutral. Both fathers and mothers are presumed to be caretakers of their child and they will generally share joint custody. However, there is a difference between joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
Custody in New Jersey
New Jersey law recognizes legal custody and physical custody. Parents can share joint legal custody. This means they have an equal say in major life decisions regarding their child. Such decisions may involve what school the child attends, what doctors the child sees and what religion the child will participate in.
New Jersey law also recognizes joint physical custody. This means the child will spend significant time in each parent’s care, even though this may not be an exactly even split. Some factors that will be considered when awarding physical custody include the child’s relationship with each parent and siblings, each parent’s ability to provide a stable home and each parent’s fitness. This is not an all-inclusive list; other factors may be considered as well.
You have custody rights
Both fathers and mothers have a right to child custody following a divorce. How much time you will spend with your child depends on many different factors. It is presumed that joint custody is in the child’s best interests. This way, your child can have a meaningful relationship with both parents moving forward following a divorce.