Arrangements for child custody after divorce include two main types of custody. These consist of physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody gives parents the authority to make important decisions in a child’s life. These decisions can be related to matters of the child’s health, education, religion and general welfare of the child. Even if a parent loses physical custody of their child, they are still able to obtain legal custody. They may be entitled to some guidelines for visitation rights or parenting time. If they are given legal custody, this still gives them to the ability to be involved in major decisions about their child’s overall well-being. They do not lose all their parental control.

What does physical custody decide?

Physical custody decides where the child resides. Once physical custody is granted, it decides who the custodial parent is. This is who the child will live with most of the time. On a weekly basis, they will have more time with the child since the child will reside with them. However, the other parent may be able to maintain consistent access to the child and have nights of their own where the child can stay with them in their home based on their guaranteed parenting time.

What factors influence custody arrangements?

Judges decide on the final outcome of child custody arrangements in court. When a judge considers the arrangement, they make sure to take all factors into consideration to protect the best interests of the child. Some factors can include the parent’s inclination to accept custody, the child’s safety, the child’s needs, any domestic abuse in the past, the distance between the parents’ homes, the relationship the child has with each parent, the preference the child has when of a sufficient age, the stability of each home life and the ability of the parent to act in the child’s best interests.

Can child custody arrangements be adjusted?

As divorced spouses continue their lives without one another, their lives can change in big ways. This can have the ability to disrupt their current child custody arrangements with their former spouse. It may also lead them to seek a new arrangement that better fits the new terms of their life or the child’s life. A modification to the agreed upon child custody arrangement can be beneficial for all parties involved. The parties can bring the case to court in order to reach a change in the original agreement that can fix the situation.

Judges can only consider the present factors when making custody arrangements, meaning that modifications may be necessary in the future based on changing circumstances. New and changing factors can affect the effectiveness of a child custody arrangement. They also may not be aware of the effect of the original custody arrangement. If a parent notices their child is negatively reacting to a current child custody arrangement, they may wish to get it modified.

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.