Most, if not all, parents want what is best for their children. The same holds true for parents involved in divorce proceedings, and that is why understanding child custody matters are so important. New Jersey parents who are in the midst of a divorce and have children under 18 years of age can benefit from knowing what is meant when custody matters are discussed by lawyers.
Custody is defined as the responsibility legally placed on a parent to care for and to be in control of a child younger than 18. Custody may be awarded by a court to both parents or only to one parent. Legally custody can be divided in two types, namely legal custody, which refers to the right to take decisions about important matters pertaining to one's child, and physical custody, referring to the physical daily care of the child.
While it may seem easier and less troublesome not to involve courts and just draft an informal agreement, there are benefits to obtaining a formal court order. An order made by a court ensures that a parent is allowed to have a say in decisions made about a child, as well as a right to have the child reside with the parent. Without a court order, both parents will have an equal say when it comes to deciding about important matters, as well as living arrangements.
Sharing equal rights may not be a bad thing, as long as both parents can agree on matters, but sometimes, one parent may not trust the other. In cases such as abuse, it may be prudent to discuss the possibility of supervised visits with a lawyer. Courts will, however, ask for valid reasons and possibly even some form of proof.
Child custody matters are complex, and the many different options can become confusing and daunting. A New Jersey lawyer specializing in child custody is in the ideal position to guide parents in what would be best for their children and hopefully an agreement that suits all. Happy secure children allows for content parents.
Source: womenslaw.org, "Custody", Sep. 20, 2017