parenting

Child custody decisions in New Jersey prioritize the best interest of the child. As with any decision regarding children, it is generally best if the parents can reach agreement on their own. Doing so allows both parties to retain more control over the outcome. It may also result in increased cooperation following a divorce or the end of a relationship. Our child custody attorneys efficiently guide clients through this process. If a fair agreement isn’t possible, however, we advocate aggressively for them in court.

Protecting Your Relationship With Your Child

At Petrelli Previtera, we represent residents in custody, child support and other family law matters. We understand that emotions run high when a relationship ends. Add the fact that each parent is usually very concerned about maintaining a strong relationship with his or her child, and reaching an agreement on custody is more difficult. We are attorneys with a strong track record of helping clients reach an agreement on custody and other issues.

Determining Custody in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the court encourages both parents to remain engaged and involved in their child’s life. Unless there is reason to avoid it, the court most often opts for joint custody. However, this does not necessarily mean each parent gets equal time with the child.

A broad range of factors help determine child custody in South Jersey, including:

  • Each parent’s co-parenting skills. This factor is based in part on the ability to communicate and cooperate with the other parent.
  • The child’s physical health and safety.
  • The stability of each parent’s environment.
  • The distance between the parents’ homes, the child’s school, etc.

New Jersey Child Custody Attorneys

For those looking for legal help in family law, Petrelli Previtera, LLC provides a unique and dependable approach. What sets Petrelli Previtera apart from other family law practitioners is the firm’s commitment to exploring and building the client/lawyer relationship to ensure that all the client’s needs are met. You are not just another client to us. We care about helping you through the legal process, so you can move on with your life.

Petrelli Previtera knows the only way to bring about fair and just solutions for our clients is by building trust. That is why our firm is constantly in contact with clients to make sure every question and concern is addressed from the very beginning to the final outcome.

Common Questions

What are the types of child custody in New Jersey?

When a child is involved in a divorce settlement, the custody situation can vary greatly depending on the remaining relationship between parents. Ideally, child custody is agreed upon and abided by both parties in an effort to do what is best for the child. However, legal wrangling, family history, and personal developments can affect the outcome of a custody hearing. A judge can award either sole or joint custody depending on what appears to be the best situation for the child.

When can a parent be granted Sole Custody in NJ?

Sole custody means that both the child’s physical and legal rights are in the care of the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent maintains the parent-child relationship through defined visitation rights. As society has evolved into a less gender-biased culture, the New Jersey court systems have moved away from generally awarding sole custody to the mother. It is widely recognized that the active involvement of both parents is the best way to proceed, and the father’s role has enlarged over the years. To accommodate this shift in cultural roles, courts sometime award physical custody for one parent while both parents share legal custody, along with a generous visitation schedule.

However, in New Jersey, more often than not, award joint physical and legal custody. The court takes issues such as alcohol or drug dependency, child abuse charges, or neglect charges into account and will not hesitate to award sole custody if either parent is deemed unfit. The awarding of sole custody can cause much friction in a relationship, and it is generally not recommended to seek sole custody unless one parent is a direct harm to the children.

Is there a difference between shared and Joint Custody in New Jersey?

Joint custody, also called shared custody, means that even though the parents don’t live together, they share the decision-making responsibilities and/or physical control and custody of their children. Joint custody could come as easily as an agreement between both parents, though court appointed joint custody is common as well, and can exist if the parents are separated, divorced, no longer cohabitating, or even if they have never lived together. Joint custody can be defined in several different fashions. Joint legal custody means that both parents are required to partake in legal responsibilities of the child. Joint physical custody means that children split significant time staying with each parent. The parents can also both be awarded (or agree to) joint physical and legal custody.

The awarding of shared joint custody means that both parents will need to reevaluate their lives and their schedules to maximize their quality time with their children. Agendas, housing arrangements, and other such factors have to be taken into account. This can cause friction or disagreement when one person feels the situation is not fair. If the parents cannot come to an agreement inside or outside of mediation, the courts will move forward to impose an arrangement. A common pattern is for children to split time at each parent’s home for weeks at a time. Joint custody options also include alternating years, six-month periods, or split weekend/weekday arrangements. When deciding the allocation of a child’s time, it is always important to keep the child’s best interest in mind.

There are many advantages to both the children and the parents when joint custody is awarded. The children have continued contact and involvement with both parents, and the burden of single parenting is alleviated when the child is away. As with any situation, there are disadvantages as well, primarily stemming from the fact that the children must adhere to a regimented schedule and be shuttled around to accommodate it. Also, depending on the existing relationship between parents, any tension or non-cooperation can cause seriously devastating effects on children. Maintaining two homes for the children can also be an expensive undertaking.

Getting Started

Petrelli Previtera can help you through this difficult time. We are committed to helping individuals with the transition and ensuring they have a fair and equitable resolution, while looking out for the best interests of the children.

The first step in determining the right solution is opening the lines of communication. You can schedule a confidential consultation by calling (866) 465-5395. During this meeting, you and an experienced attorney will define the situation, the difficulties involved, the goals you have in mind, and the next steps to take. From here, we’ll customize a unique strategy to determine a fair and just solution for you and those involved.

At the end of the consultation session, you’ll receive a detailed breakdown of how fees are applied and the different roles the firm can play in your representation. You are encouraged to ask any questions that come to mind. Our goal is to create a comfortable and trust-filled relationship, and that starts by providing all the information you need.

When you’re ready to learn about possible legal solutions, call Petrelli Previtera at (866) 465-5395. We look forward to working with you to meet your goals and give you the fair solution you deserve.