How Parental Responsibility is Determined in NJ Divorces

Categories: Child Custody

parental responsibility

The term “custody” is thrown around loosely during a divorce, but it is a topic that must be discussed between divorcing or separating parents. Custody, also known as parental responsibility, determines which parents have physical and legal custody over their children post-divorce.

Sole Physical Custody

In New Jersey, a parent can be awarded “sole physical custody” or “sole residential custody.” This means the child will live with one parent and spend less than two overnight stays each week with another parent, plus added holiday or vacation visitation time.

Visitation And How It Affects Your Case

Visitation is the time the non-custodial parent has with their child while the other parent was granted sole physical custody. New Jersey courts use a parenting time plan to determine how much time the non-custodial parent has with the child. They often refer to it as a “parenting plan” to help encourage responsibility from both custodial and noncustodial parents, and ensure no one looks at it as a “visit” with the child.

Can There be Shared Physical Custody?

Yes, both parents can share physical custody with one another. This occurs when the child spends more than two overnight visits per week with each of the parents; therefore, granting shared physical custody. Shared custody plans can vary on how many days per week each parent has with the child, and sometimes can be customized based on what the parents agree to, such as the child spending one week at one house and one week at the other.

Shared custody plans must be in the best interest of the child and things like their school location and distance between the two houses must be considered too. Shared physical custody is becoming more common in New Jersey, but it only works when parents live within the same city and can work together with limited conflict to make decisions on behalf of the child.

Joint Legal versus Sole Legal Custody

There are two forms of legal custody that can be awarded: joint and sole. These are as follows:

* Joint Legal Custody – This means that both parents have the right to participate in major decisions for the child – whether it is choosing a healthcare provider, picking a school, or even making legal decisions.

* Sole Legal Custody – This means that only one parent can make major decisions affecting the child and he or she does not have to consult the other parent in order to make that decision. Sole legal custody is awarded in New Jersey when one parent is considered unfit to make legal decisions for his or her children.

Confused About Custody? Contact the Divorce Attorneys at Romanowski Law Offices Today

We can assist you with your parental responsibility planning for your divorce case. We understand how complicated it can be to decide which type of custody is best and we are here to help keep your child’s best interests at heart while creating a favorable outcome for both parents. Call us at 732-603-8585 for an expert consultation or feel free to contact us online.