Bergen County Child Custody Attorneys

Glen Rock firm assists parents throughout New Jersey

Feitlin, Youngman, Karas & Gerson, LLC in Glen Rock represents New Jersey residents in custody and parenting time matters during the divorce process and in modification and enforcement actions after an order has been issued. No matter how contentious the breakup with your co-parent might be, you should remember that your children will do best if they can maintain a healthy relationship with both parents. Under the right circumstances, you and your ex will continue to cooperate on important matters and focus on your children’s needs.

Different types of custody

As you go through a divorce, the custody options that people mention to you can be confusing. Your neighbor said you must have sole custody because your spouse has a tendency to drink to excess on the weekends. Your brother said to go for joint custody because it is best for the kids. You might also hear about shared, physical or residential custody. It is important to understand the differences so you can evaluate what would be best for your children and yourself. The different options include:

  • Sole custody — Only one parent has decision-making authority and access to information such as medical, dental, psychological and school records. This usually is only granted if one parent is not fit to make responsible choices concerning their child.
  • Joint custody — This is the standard arrangement where both parents share decision-making authority and have access to information concerning their child.
  • Shared custody — Neither parent’s home is designated as the child’s primary residence. This is only feasible when the parents live close to each other.
  • Residential custody — This refers to where the children reside for purposes of school registration.

After learning about your family’s situation and needs, we will advocate for a resolution that creates a healthy, supportive environment for your child.

How child custody is decided in NJ

When parents divorce, it is usually best for them to develop a parenting plan that is agreeable to both of them. Our family lawyers strive to find creative solutions to the differences parties have relating to custody and parenting time arrangements. New Jersey law favors neither mothers nor fathers but mandates that judges enter an order that is in the young person’s best interests.

Factors in a child custody case

Though any information the judge deems to be relevant can be considered when issuing a custody order, factors listed in the statute that need to be taken into account include:

  • Parental fitness
  • Parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate on key matters
  • Any parental history of domestic violence
  • Stability of each home environment
  • How a given arrangement will affect the child’s education
  • Child’s preference if they are mature enough to make an intelligent decision
  • Proximity of the parents’ homes

In some cases, the judge might appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests in court. Whether your custody matter is relatively amicable or hotly contest, we take the time to learn about your son or daughter’s particular needs and advocate for an order that meets them.

Grandparent custody and visitation

Situations where parents and grandparents disagree about visitation or custody can be very difficult. Several factors are listed under New Jersey law that the court must consider if a grandparent seeks visitation over a parent’s objections, including the grandparent-grandchild and grandparent-parent relationships. If you believe that your grandchild is at risk due to a lack of parental fitness, we can advise you regarding the process to obtain temporary or permanent custody. 

Differences between custody and guardianship

The terms custody and guardianship are sometimes used interchangeably as both involve the legal responsibility to care for a minor. However, there is a significant difference. Custody refers to a biological parent’s authority and duties. Guardianship exists when someone who is not a child’s biological parent is appointed by a court to provide legal protection and supervision because the parent(s) are unable to fulfill their responsibilities adequately due to death, disability, substance addiction, abusive behavior or some other reason.

Contact a New Jersey child custody lawyer to discuss your issue

Feitlin, Youngman, Karas & Gerson, LLC in Glen Rock represents parents in child custody negotiations and proceedings. Please call 201-468-0966 or contact us online for a consultation.