Divorcing parents in Ocean City may find it difficult to agree on the various issues that arise during the divorce process. For instance, many couples struggle to agree on issues relating to child custody and visitation. Courts will make decisions relating to child custody with the best interests of the child in mind.
Under New Jersey Divorce Statute 9:2-4, courts will consider a variety of factors when awarding custody, including:
- Parents’ ability to put their differences aside and work together for the sake of the children.
- Each parent’s willingness and capacity to care for their children.
- Living environment provided by each parent, and distance between the two homes.
- Evidence of domestic abuse or substance abuse
- Children’s needs
Possible custody arrangements
When a couple gets divorced, New Jersey courts will need to determine both physical and legal custody.
- Physical custody will address where the children will live, and which parent will be responsible for the child’s day-to-day life.
- Legal custody will address which parent will make decisions regarding the children’s upbringings, including educational, medical, and religious decisions.
Generally, the court prefers to award shared physical and legal custody, so that both parents will have overnight time with the child and be able to make decisions relating to the child. However, shared physical custody does not necessarily mean 50-50 custody. The actual number of days/overnights spent with each parent will vary based on what best suits the child’s needs. Two possibilities may be an alternating weeks schedule (one week with one parent, the next week with the other parent) or a 4-3 schedule (four days with one parent, three days with the other parent).
While joint custody is preferred, there are some situations that warrant sole physical and/or sole legal custody. If a parent has sole physical and legal custody, one parent will serve as the primary custodial parent, caring for the child on a daily basis, and can make decisions relating to the child without consulting the other parent.