Somerset Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody matters are very serious and it is crucial to retain an attorney that is competent and experienced in this area of the law. It is New Jersey’s public policy to assure that minor children have frequent and continuous contact with both parents. In any custody proceeding, the court will treat the rights of both parents equally. Child custody is comprised of legal and physical custody. Legal custody relates to a parent’s authority and responsibility for making major decisions regarding the child’s health, education and welfare. Physical or residential custody relates to where the child lives.
The primary standard how the courts determine custody and parenting schedules is the “best interests of the child.” This standard is designed to protect the safety, happiness, physical, mental and moral welfare of the child. Generally, custody arrangements fall into one of three categories: sole custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody. Sole custody awards both the legal and physical custody to one parent. Joint legal custody provides that both parents have joint responsibility for all major decisions regarding the child’s health, welfare, and education. However, in a joint custody case, the court will usually designate one parent as the child’s parent of primary residence and determine a parenting plan for the other parent.
Factors when Considering Child Custody
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:2-4 (c), in making an award of custody, the Court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
- The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child;
- The parent’s willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
- The interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings;
- The history of domestic violence, if any;
- The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
- The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;
- The needs of the child;
- The stability of the home environment offered;
- The quality and continuity of the child’s education;
- The fitness of the parents;
- The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes;
- The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to and subsequent to the separation;
- The parents’ employment responsibilities; and
- The age and number of the children.
Below are the Bill of Rights of all children involved in divorce and dissolution actions:
- The right to be treated as important and separate human beings with unique feelings, needs, ideas, and desires, not existing solely to gratify the needs of their parents.
- The right to not participate in the painful games parents play to hurt each other, or be put in the middle of their battles.
- The right not to be a go-between or a message courier for their parents.
- The right to a continuing, relaxed, and secure relationship with both parents.
- The right to express love and affection for, and receive love and affection from both parents.
- The right to know that expressions of love between children and parents will not cause fear, disapproval, or other negative consequences.
- The right to know that their parents decision to divorce is not their fault.
- The right to know that it is not their responsibility to keep their parents together.
- The right to continuing care and guidance from both parents.
- The right to age appropriate answers to questions about the changing family relationships, without placing blame on either parent.
- The right to know and appreciate what is good in each parent.
- The right to be protected from hearing degrading or bad comments about either parent.
- The right to be able to experience regular, consistent, and flexible shared parenting time with both parents, and the right to know the reason for changes in the parenting schedule.
- The right to have neither parent interfere with, or undermine, parenting time with the other parent.
- The right to not be forced to choose one parent over the other.
- The right to express their feelings, concerns, and ideas about the divorce.
- The right to remain a child without being asked to take on parental responsibilities or to be an adult friend or companion to either parent.
- The right to the most adequate level of economic support that can be provided from the best efforts of both parents.
- The right to continue ongoing positive relationships with the people (friends, neighbors, grandparents and extended family) who were an important part of their lives before parental divorce.
Somerset Child Custody Lawyer at Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC Develop Child Custody and Parenting Time Agreements
At the Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC we have extensive experience helping families in the Garden State develop, implement and maintain child custody schedules, visitation and parenting time agreements. In addition, we are well-versed in handling the unique challenges that some divorcing fathers may face during a divorce. For more information or to discuss a specific child custody issue, call a Somerset child custody lawyer today at 732-873-6464 or contact us online.
We represent clients throughout New Jersey including Somerset County, Middlesex County, Union County and including but not limited to the towns of Somerset, Franklin, Bridgewater, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, Plainfield, Edison, Metuchen, Woodbridge, Piscataway, Old Bridge, Rahway, Linden, Elizabeth, Cranford, Summit, Union, Clark, Elizabeth, Berkeley Heights, and Scotch Plains.