How Do Substance Abuse Issues Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

If you are seeking custody of your child(ren) and you either have a substance abuse issue or your former spouse is alleging you have a substance abuse issue, it may significantly impact the outcome of your application. Fortunately, we are here to help. Please continue reading and reach out to our experienced team of New Jersey family law attorneys to learn more about child custody in New Jersey and how we can help you through the process ahead.

How Do Substance Abuse Issues Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

In New Jersey, the two primary types of child custody are physical custody and legal custody. Essentially, physical custody deals with where your child(ren) will live, while legal custody refers to your parental authority to make certain key life decisions on behalf of your child(ren). For example, if you have legal custody of your child(ren), you have the authority and responsibility for making major decisions regarding the child(ren)’s welfare, such as where your child(ren) will go to school, the types of medical treatments your child(ren) may receive, and the religion your child(ren) will practice.

How do New Jersey courts determine child custody?

Generally, New Jersey courts prefer to award custody equally between parents, provided this arrangement is in the best interests of the child(ren). However, this is not always the case. In making an award of custody, the Court will analyze several factors, some of which include:

  • the parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child(ren);
  • the parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
  • the interaction and relationship of the child(ren) with parents and siblings;
  • the history of domestic violence, if any;
  • the safety of the child(ren) and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
  • the preference of the child(ren) when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;
  • the needs of the child(ren);
  • the stability of the home environment offered;
  • the quality and continuity of the child(ren)’s education;
  • the fitness of the parents;
  • the geographical proximity of the parents’ homes;
  • the extent and quality of the time spent with the child(ren) prior to or subsequent to the separation;
  • the parents’ employment responsibilities;
  • and the age and number of children.

If you have a substance abuse issue of any kind, or your former spouse alleges that you have a substance abuse issue of any kind, your parental fitness may come into question and may drastically impact any award of custody. As such, you will need an experienced Bergen County family law attorney at your side who can disprove the allegation or prove that you are doing everything in your power to correct the issue, such as seeking counseling and undergoing treatment. Our firm will advocate for your right to be the parent your child(ren) deserve(s).

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

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