If you are a parent, we know the love you have for your children. Losing a relationship with them, or jeopardizing your ability to parent them, can be devastating. That is why custody is such a serious issue in divorce cases.
We understand your relationship with your children is everything to you and we can help you negotiate custody arrangements or fight for custody. Our award-winning family law attorneys are dedicated to our clients and go above and beyond to protect their wellbeing. Our number one priority is ensuring you obtain the best possible outcome for your child custody case.
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If you plan to fight for custody of your children, it is important to keep in mind what the courts are looking for when making their decisions. New Jersey family courts evaluate several factors when deciding which parent should take primary custody of the children.
Courts prefer to arrange shared or joint custody rather than give sole custody. Courts operate under the belief that it is often in the best interests of the child to maintain a consistent relationship with both parents. You may have many options for joint and shared custody depending on your situation.
Sometimes, a child may alternate living with both parents, depending on the proximity between the parents' residences. In some shared custody situations, the parents may work together to make decisions about the child's health, education, religion, and more.
In other scenarios, the court may decide the parents cannot work together and therefore require a court decision for sole custody. Sole custody means one parent will be the resident parent for the child, but the non-custodial parent will be given visitation rights.
The amount of child support a parent must pay is based on New Jersey's child support guidelines. The goal of the guidelines is to fairly allocate the cost of raising a child between both parents. The no-custodial parent may feel as if they are the only one paying for their child or children, but that is not often the case. Custodial parents are also held to a financial obligation regarding their children's support.
When child support is awarded, it is designed to help the custodial parent pay for the children's food, clothing, and shelter. Child support guidelines are meant to help ensure courts issue consistent child support awards and are based on a formula which takes the previously listed information from both parents and calculates a child support amount.
Adjustments can be made to the guideline calculation when a parent or both parents have other child support orders, the government pays benefits towards the child / children, and / or when adjustments have been made for parenting time. Said adjustments can also be made if a child spends more or less time with the non-custodial parent, as the non-custodial parent's cost for the child will either increase or decrease, and the custodial parent's costs must change as a result, as well.
If you and your ex-spouse are on speaking terms, it is best to agree on a parenting plan together. New Jersey courts will accept custody arrangements created by the parents unless the custody arrangement does not serve the child's best interests.
If parents are unable to agree on an arrangement, then the court may mandate a custody plan, which may be less favorable to the parents than if they had created one on their own. If you need assistance working through a child custody plan, call our divorce attorneys in Monmouth & Ocean County today.
Our team can assist with the following issues related to child custody:
We will do all that we can to help you assert your rights and work toward a favorable parenting plan! Schedule a free consultation with The Law Offices of O'Toole & Gunteski, LLC today.