There are few things more important to a parent than retaining custody of their child. Consequently, child custody is a common issue when a married couple gets divorced. On the other hand, matters are somewhat more confusing for unmarried couples who have children, are splitting up, and both want to play a part in their child’s life. Determining child custody is a bit different in these case, which is why you should continue reading and reach out to our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys to learn more about child custody for unmarried parents and how our legal team can assist you. Here are some of the questions you may have:
How do New Jersey courts determine child custody for unmarried parents?
New Jersey courts will consider a wide array of factors when determining child custody for unmarried parents. To start, you should note that, NJ courts have developed a formal proceeding for unmarried parents who are looking to establish a custody plan. This is known as a non-dissolution ‘FD’ case. Through this, unmarried parents can establish paternity, support, and legal custody orders if the child is under the age of 21. Parents can also establish parenting time orders for biological parents and formalize grandparent/adult sibling visitation orders. That being said, not unlike other divorces, the court’s primary concern will be your child’s best interests.
Are there different types of child custody in New Jersey?
The three primary types of child custody in New Jersey are as follows:
- Joint custody: This is when both parents equally share legal and physical custody of a child. In this case, the child will spend about half of his or her time with each parent. Often, this is the most favorable option.
- Joint legal custody: Joint legal custody is when a child primarily lives with one parent, though both parents share legal custody of the child. In many ways, retaining joint legal custody is the most important, as doing so will allow both parents to have a say in the child’s education, religion, and medical care.
- Sole custody: Sole custody is when only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child. Typically, sole custody is only awarded when one parent proves him or herself to be parentally unfit.
If you have any further questions, simply give us a call today.
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