How Do New Jersey Courts Handle Child Custody For Unmarried Parents?

Child custody is one of the most hotly-contested divorce issues, and for good reason. No parent wants to essentially “give up” their child to the other. This is true whether you were married to the child’s other biological parent or not. That being said, if you are an unmarried parent who is splitting up with your child’s mother/father, the child custody process is a bit different. Please read on and reach out to our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys to learn more about how we can help you secure custody of your child.

How Do New Jersey Courts Handle Child Custody For Unmarried Parents?

What are the main factors that courts consider when determining child custody for unmarried parents in New Jersey?

The first thing you should understand is that fortunately, in recent years, New Jersey courts have come a long way in terms of dealing with unmarried parents seeking child custody. In fact, they now have a formal proceeding for these situations known as a non-dissolution ‘FD’ case. In these cases, unmarried parents can establish paternity, child support, legal custody orders for a child under the age of 21, establish parenting time orders for biological parents, and establish grandparent/adult sibling visitation orders. When courts decide on child custody terms, regardless of whether you were ever married or not, their utmost concern is your child’s well-being.

Are there different types of child custody in New Jersey?

There are three main types of child custody in New Jersey. The first, and often most favorable, is called joint custody. This is when both parents have legal custody of the child, and the child spends about half of his/her time at each parent’s house. The second type of child custody for unmarried parents is called joint legal custody. This is when the child lives at one parent’s house for most of the time, though both parents still possess legal custody over that child.

Legal custody is perhaps most important, as those with legal custody have a say in where your child attends school, the religion your child practices, the types of medical treatments your child can receive, and more. The third and final type of custody is called sole custody. Generally, courts will only grant a parent full legal and physical custody of a child when the other parent proves to be parentally unfit and/or poses a significant danger to the child.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

We understand how challenging divorce and other family law issues can be, which is why we are dedicated to providing individuals with the compassionate, knowledgeable legal representation they deserve. Arohnson, Weiner, Salerno & Kaufman has helped clients through the various family law matters for over 40 years, which is why we know we have the experience needed to do the same for you. For powerful legal counsel regarding family law, litigation, business law, real estate, and criminal law, you know where to turn–contact Arohnson, Weiner, Salerno & Kaufman today to schedule a consultation.