Child Custody Lawyers Newton, Warren and Sussex Counties
Helping you protect your relationship with your children
The security and well-being of your children is high on your list of priorities if you are in the midst of a divorce or separation, but parents in Warren, Sussex, Passaic and Morris Counties do not always see eye-to-eye on these issues. When parents are no longer going to live together, coming up with a custody and parenting time plan can be challenging, even under the best circumstances. If you have concerns about the other parent’s fitness, or if the other parent is trying to keep you from your children, you may be in for the fight of your life. When the stakes are this high, you can count on us at the law firm of Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, L.L.C. to provide the counsel you need to move forward with confidence. Our team of dedicated Newton attorneys boasts decades of combined experience and insight. We can help you take the steps necessary to preserve your relationship with your children.
Types of child custody arrangements
Whether constructed by the court or negotiated by the parties, a child custody arrangement must be fairly detailed for it to be workable. Once established, these arrangements are strictly enforced and may involve paying or getting the support your child needs. While every situation is different, child custody arrangements generally fall into the following categories:
- Sole custody — You have physical custody of the child almost all of the time. The other parent has only short-term visitation. You likely also have sole legal custody —– the authority to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing. However, you may share legal custody with the other parent, even if you have sole physical custody.
- Joint custody — You and the other parent both have regular custody of the child, who will often alternate between parents during the course of a typical week. Parents may not necessarily have equal time, but each parent has substantial unsupervised time with the child, including frequent overnight stays. In this situation, parents usually also have joint legal custody.
- Parenting time — Even if the other parent has sole custody, you still usually have a right to visitation. Visitation is generally less frequent and shorter in duration than with joint custody, but it may still include overnight visits. Visitation is usually unsupervised. However, it may be supervised if there are concerns about the child’s safety, as may be the case if there were protective orders in place for abuse in the past. Visitation can only be denied if the court determines that it would place the child at substantial risk of physical or psychological harm.
How courts decide
Determining child custody is subjective and, if possible, it is usually better for the parents to reach an agreement outside court. However, if it does fall to a court to decide the issue, there are several factors judges must consider:
- The parents’ ability to cooperate
- The child’s relationship with parents and siblings
- The child’s preference (if old enough)
- The child’s needs
- The child’s safety
- Any history of domestic violence
- The stability of each parent’s home
- The fitness of each parent
- The quality of the child’s education
- The distance between the parents’ homes
- The number of children and their ages
- Each parent’s employment status
While these orders are not set in stone, they are supposed to be stable. Modifying custody usually requires a substantial and relevant change in circumstances or the consent of both parents. Moreover, even if both parents agree, the court must still be convinced that any proposed change is not detrimental to the child.
Contact a Newton firm that knows how to resolve child custody issues
The attorneys at the law firm of Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, L.L.C. understand the complexities of child custody and divorce issues and the concerns of parents. Whether you are trying to work out a custody arrangement with your ex-spouse or partner or are fighting for the well-being of your children, we can give you the support and counsel you need. Call us today at 862-273-3465 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.