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Child Custody

You should understand the legal issues custody involves so you can make the best, educated decisions you can. We are here, by your side and on your side, ready to explain the law and address any questions you have. We want you to be well-informed as you go through the child custody process.

Determining a child custody arrangement depends on a range of issues and factors. But there is a primary factor that dictates all decision-making of New Jersey courts: the child’s best interests. You (or the other parent) may fiercely want custody of your child, but if that is not in your child’s best interests, your feelings won’t matter in a court of law. We will help you by trying to negotiate a child custody agreement that is mutually satisfactory and, if need be, prepare you to present the best case before the Court.

The law and public policy in New Jersey are clear and are spelled out in state statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-4:

“…it is in the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy. In any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal….”

Although both parents have the legal right to be involved in the children’s lives, the courts have not interpreted the Statute language to mean an automatic 50/50 or automatic joint custody arrangement. If you’re seen by a judge as trying to damage your child’s relationship with the other parent or you’re seen as inflexible and demanding when it comes to time with your child, it can significantly decrease your chances of getting the type of custody or visitation you want. Never badmouth your spouse or ex to a child. The court will not tolerate this behavior. We provide sound legal guidance to avoid any issues that could harm your ability to get the custody arrangement you want.

Schedule your strictly confidential free consultation today at either of our two offices, call (856) 881-9600  for our Glassboro Office or (609) 886-5700 for our Cape May  Office. 

Who Gets Custody?

The statute also spells out factors a judge needs to consider when making a custody decision, though they can add others, depending on the situation. These factors include:

  • The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate concerning the child
  • The parents’ willingness to accept custody
  • Any unwillingness to allow time with the other parent not based on substantiated claims of abuse
  • The interaction and relationship of the child with parents and siblings
  • A history of domestic violence, if any
  • The safety of the child and of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent
  • The preference of the child when he or she is old enough and has the ability to reason and form an intelligent decision
  • The needs of the child
  • The stability of the home environment
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The fitness of the parents
  • How close the parents’ homes are located to each other
  • The extent and quality of the time spent with the child before or after the separation
  • The parents’ employment responsibilities
  • The age and number of the children.

I have years of experience handling custody cases. Experience counts. Schedule your strictly confidential free consultation today at either of our two offices, call (856) 881-9600  for our Glassboro Office or (609) 886-5700 for our Cape May  Office.

Visitation-Custody Schedule

Deciding on a visitation and custody schedule and filing a Parenting Plan with the court. A parenting plan—otherwise known as a custody plan — can be jointly agreed to and submitted to the court for approval. I highly recommend an agreement. This is really the time to “make a deal”! Even if you only get most of what you want, if possible, make a deal. You never know how a judge will rule. A judge my see your case very different then you do. A word of caution; judges have a lot of discretion in Family Court and appeals are very costly and time consuming. A Parenting Plan must be in the Child’s Best Interest. And should provide a schedule that specifically states when the child is with each parent. Be as specific as you can. If you get into a dispute with the other parent, specificity wins. For example: Father will return child on Sunday-Wrong! Father will return child to Mother at her residence at Noon on Sunday. Very Good.

We will work with you to develop a plan that works and is very specific to avoid future. disputes. In the event we cannot negotiate a plan, we will go to court and fight for what you want. Custody disputes are the worst of the worst in family court. They are very time consuming and very expensive. Here is where an experienced lawyer can save you time, emotional pain and suffering and lots of money. Schedule your strictly confidential free consultation today at either of our two offices, call (856) 881-9600  for our Glassboro Office or (609) 886-5700 for our Cape May  Office.

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