Every New Jersey family is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to child custody. During a divorce, you will have the right and the option to work with the other parent to reach a child custody order that is best for your unique family. As you consider all of your options, it is beneficial to understand the various types of child custody.
What works for one family may not work for yours. As you consider all of the issues that will affect custody and visitation, you may find it beneficial to think long term, and not allow your emotions to guide your decision making. One of the first steps to reaching a final custody agreement that is beneficial and functional is to carefully consider all of the options available to you.
Which arrangement is most beneficial for your family?
There are various different types of child custody arrangements, and choosing the right one for you depends on the unique factors of your individual situation. No matter which type of custody arrangement you choose, you will have to address both legal custody and physical custody. The differences between the two are as follows:
- Physical custody: This pertains to the actual time a child will be with a particular parent. This includes holidays, weekend visits and summer vacations.
- Legal custody: Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make important decisions for a child, such as educational preferences and religious upbringing.
In a joint custody plan, two parents may share physical custody while one retains legal custody. However, some families are able to peacefully co-parent after divorce while jointly sharing both physical and legal custody.
Sole custody is not as common, but there are cases where it is clear that it is best for the kids to remain with just one parent while having limited or no contact with the other. The custodial parent will obviously have full physical and legal custody in a sole custody arrangement.
The best future for your children
The ultimate goal of any child custody arrangement is the protection of the best interests of any minor children. Any decision you make during a divorce and during custody negotiations will affect your kids for years to come, and you would be wise to think about what is truly best for the kids, no matter how you are feeling at the moment.
Before you agree to a custody plan or make any important decisions, you may find it useful to seek a complete explanation of your legal options and how you can protect your parental rights.