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Joint vs. Sole Custody: What’s the Difference?

When parents separate or get divorced, the matter of child custody will inevitably come up. Custody involves several components that parents will need to agree on; otherwise, the court will have the right to decide for them.

Two crucial aspects of custody include where the child will live and who will make decisions for the child’s wellbeing. Along with this decision, joint and sole custody will need to be discussed, which can get a little complicated.

New Jersey Custody Laws

There are two different types of child custody in New Jersey. The types include legal and physical custody. Parents with legal custody have the right to make decisions regarding the way the child is raised and their wellbeing. Conversely, parents with physical custody get to decide where the child will live.

In both legal and physical custody, parents can file for sole or joint custody.

Filing for Joint Custody

Joint Custody means the child has access to both parents. Each parent is granted equal rights and responsibilities regarding the raising of their child. Joint custody is separated based on legal and physical custody:

  • Joint Legal Custody: This means that at all times, both parents share the legal authority and responsibility for making “major” decisions regarding the child’s welfare.

  • Joint Physical Custody: This means both parents share the companionship of the child and are responsible for making the day-to-day decisions about the child. Depending on the family’s situation, joint physical custody may not be split equally.

Filing for Sole Custody

Sole custody means that only one parent has physical and legal custody of the child.

  • Sole Legal Custody: This means the parent with sole custody has the right to make any day-to-day and significant decisions for the child without needing to consult with the child’s other parent.

  • Sole Physical Custody: This means the child resides only with the parent with sole custody. In this situation, the other parent will typically be entitled to visitation time.

In New Jersey, the law states that both parents should share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children. This is because, in most cases, it’s best for the child’s wellbeing to have a relationship with both of their parents. Which means joint custody is typically favored over sole custody arrangements. Sole custody is usually only granted if it is in the child’s best interest.

Call DeTommaso Law Group today at (908) 274-3028 if you need help with your child custody case.

 

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