Child custody written in a note and gavel

When divorcing, parents must agree on custody and parenting time. The courts will respect custody arrangements as long as they prioritize the best interests of the children. However, if the parties cannot agree, the court will decide the issue. Child custody is a life-changing decision that can impact your parental rights. As such, it’s essential to understand the different custody arrangements available in New Jersey. Please continue reading to learn whether New Jersey follows a 50/50 custody model and how our competent Monmouth County Child Custody Attorneys can help you navigate your legal options. 

What is 50/50 Custody?

50/50 custody, also known as joint physical or equal shared custody, refers to a child custody agreement in which each parent has the child for an equal amount of time. Essentially, this means that the child spends an equal amount of time residing with and being cared for by both parents. The state does not have a specific legal statute for 50/50 custody. However, the court believes having an ongoing relationship with both parents is in a child’s best interests. Therefore, they often favor a 50/50 custody arrangement because it allows both parents to be a part of the child’s life and upbringing. New Jersey courts encourage parents to remain active participants in their children’s lives.

What Factors Are Considered in Child Custody Cases in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the court will consider a wide variety of factors when determining custody arrangements. The court will always act in the child’s best interests to ensure their well-being. Some of the factors the court will consider include:

  • The number and age of children
  • The relationship between each parent and the child
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment
  • The geographical proximity of the parent’s homes
  • The child’s educational needs
  • The preference of the child when of sufficient age
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse within the family
  • The ability of the parents to act in the child’s best interests

How Can Parents Reach a Joint Custody Agreement?

Having a 50/50 custody arrangement has several benefits. It allows equal time and involvement from both parents, enabling the child to maintain a strong relationship with each parent. Mediation is one of the most effective ways for parents to reach a 50/50 custody agreement. Mediation involves both parties attending sessions with a neutral third-party mediator who will help them make an amicable arrangement. However, mediation requires cooperation, meaning both parties must be willing to compromise for the sake of their child.

Although New Jersey doesn’t automatically assume a 50/50 custody arrangement, it can be granted if it’s deemed in the child’s best interest. If you are facing a custody dispute, it’s in your best interest to contact the child custody attorneys from Paone Zaleski & Murphy to discuss your legal needs. Our legal team is prepared to help you safeguard your child’s best interests.