Legal Custody vs. Residential Custody
In New Jersey, child custody is divided into two separate aspects. One is called legal custody, and one is called residential custody. As an experienced New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer, clients will often ask, “what does that mean?” You can imagine what legal custody means. It’s related to the general health and welfare of your child. Do you have the right to know if your child has a broken bone, and does your spouse have to call you and tell you if your child breaks his or her ankle? Yes, if you have shared, joint, legal custody.
If you have sole legal custody, you don’t have to tell your spouse anything. You have no obligation to call your spouse and say, “Hey, our child was hurt.” You don’t have to. It’s a big deal to get sole legal custody. Does it mean that the other parent has no rights to the child? No – but it’s close to that. Most people have joint legal custody.
Physical custody is just what it says: where does the child reside? Does the child stay with mom, and then go with dad? Does the child stay with dad, and then go with mom on a weekend basis, or an off-week and an on-week, et cetera? You must determine what’s best for your child. That’s what the law says in 9:2-4, NJSA 9:2-4. You can look it up. It lists all the factors the court looks at in determining what’s best for the child.
Step one, determine whether it will be sole legal, or joint legal. Step two, determine the residential custody of the child. Where will the child reside? Some people follow a true shared, seven days on, seven days off plan, and some people work out some sort of hybrid plan, sharing the child or children equally. Whatever that his for you, you have to figure it out. Work with an attorney who has the experience, one who has dealt with child custody and parenting cases.
A lot of times, people look at the custody aspect from a financial perspective. One parent suddenly becomes parent of the year because he or she realizes that, if they have more overnights, they pay less child support. Be very careful about your reasons, what you’re going to do, and what you’re going to ask for. Run through those with an experienced attorney who can say, “You’re not getting this. This is unreasonable to even ask for,” or “I don’t know.”
We’ll bring in an expert and let that expert come in and tell you whether or not they think you have the ability to be the primary residential parent. Once you have that expert’s opinion, you can try to convince a judge of your position. Start with a plan. Work with an experienced New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer who can take you through this process, and understand that there are two basic components to child custody in the state of New Jersey – legal custody and physical custody.
Are you looking to determine the best form of child custody for your family? Contact dedicated New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer Christopher Leon Garibian for help.
Christopher Leon Garibian, Esq. is a partner in the matrimonial and family law department of Weiner Law Group LLP. He has over 19 years of experience handling a multitude of Divorce and Family Law Matters throughout New Jersey. He is passionate about family law and takes pride in his ability to effectuate real change in the lives of his clients. He is certified by the State Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Attorney. If you are in need of an experienced Divorce Attorney or Family Law Attorney in NJ, contact us today for compassionate, long lasting legal solutions.