Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Child custody in New Jersey -- what does the law say?

One of the most important aspects to consider in a divorce is what will happen with any children involved. In 1979, the state of New Jersey adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). The Act aims at the prevention of conflicts relating to custody when parents live in different U.S. states. Furthermore, child custody laws in New Jersey regulate the type of custody parents may apply for, the procedures followed, as well as rules surrounding visitation.

In New Jersey, not only may parents apply for visitation, but grandparents may also apply for the right to visit their grandchildren. According to law, custody types available are joint custody, sole custody and any other custody option the court considers to be in the best for the children involved. While the courts take many different factors into consideration, the guiding principle is always the best interests of the children.

Factors considered when a decision about custody is made include, among others:

  • how stable the child's home environment is;
  • what the child's preferences are, if the child is 12 years or older;
  • the employment responsibilities of the parents; and
  • how the family interacts with one another.

A history of domestic violence will also be taken into consideration by the court. When divorcing parents opt for a joint custody parenting plan, the court will also look at a number of aspects, such as the ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate and agree on childcare maters.

What happens to the children after divorce is an important aspect, and in some cases, the parents may find a way to agree on what is best for the children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Consulting with a New Jersey family law lawyer may make matters easier, as an attorney may be able to assist in ensuring that the best-suited child custody agreement is reached.

Source: FindLaw, "New Jersey Child Custody Laws", Accessed on May 10, 2017

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