Meet Our Somerset County Child Custody Lawyers
Legal and Physical Custody in New Jersey
As you start navigating your child custody issues, it's important to understand the different types of custody:
- Legal custody determines a parent's ability to make decisions for their child, such as the medical care they receive, what school they attend, etc.;
- Physical custody determines a parent's ability to house their child.
Whichever parent houses the children a majority of the time is called the "custodial" parent, while the other parent is the "noncustodial" parent. Custodial parents gain certain benefits, such as head-of-household tax breaks, that noncustodial parents don't receive.
During custody and visitation cases, the parents can either work together to draft a parenting plan or rely on the court in NJ to develop one on their behalf. The parenting plan details how the parents share physical and legal custody during the school year and summer vacation, over holidays. In addition, it establishes behavioral boundaries and parenting guidelines the parents must abide by.
If you agree with your co-parent on how to handle custody, you may be able to draft a parenting plan together. If a court in NJ approves of your joint parenting plan, it can sign it, finalizing your custody arrangement and closing your custody case.
Otherwise, you may need to attend a court hearing with your co-parent. After listening to both parents, the court will develop a custody plan it considers equitable on the parents' behalf.
Types of Custody Arrangements
There are two types of common custody arrangements:
- Joint custody. In a joint custody arrangement, the child spends time living with both parents and both have physical and legal custody rights, although the child may spend more time with one parent than the other.
- Sole custody. In a sole custody arrangement, only one parent gets physical and legal custody rights. The child lives with that parent, although the parent may still be able to obtain visitation rights.
In any given custody case, the court's primary concern is the child's best interests. For that reason, many courts default to joint custody arrangements under the assumption it's best for a child to spend time with each parent.
However, suppose a parent proves themselves "unfit," typically due to an issue such as domestic violence or substance abuse. In that case, the judge may award the other parent sole custody rights and restrict the unfit parent to either having visitation rights or being unable to see their child.
- Related Reading: "Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting: Which Is Best?"
Modifying & Enforcing Custody
Circumstances may arise that require a child custody agreement to be modified or enforced. For example, as a custodial parent, you may need to request a modification of your custody order because you need to relocate for work. As the non-custodial parent, you may need to ask the court to enforce a custody order if the custodial parent is wrongfully barring you from seeing your children.
“She was professional yet kind during a time that was difficult for me.”“Katrina always responded quickly and always had my best interest at hand. She was professional yet kind during a time that was difficult for me. I would highly recommend Katrina and the DeTommaso Law Group.”- Stephanie
“An Expert Who Is Professional, Personable and Responsive”“John Hays is an excellent lawyer and importantly also an excellent person. If you want a lawyer who can provide you with confidence and comfort during what can be trying times...look no further than John Hays.”- Matt
“I couldn't have picked a better partner for the process”“The DeTommaso Law Group recently helped to bring my divorce to a close, and I couldn't have picked a better partner for the process. For such a stressful and emotional event, I can't recommend DeTommaso Law Group enough as your partner in the process.”- Ryan
“Their honesty, patience, and communication style were something we both needed to ensure the best outcome given the circumstances.”Joseph Freda & Nicole Tigeleiro of DeTommaso Law Group, LLC were the absolute best to work with. They helped my husband and me to navigate through a cohabitation case and were a pleasure to work with from Day 1. Their honesty, patience, and communication style were something we both needed to ensure the best outcome given the circumstances. We highly recommend their services.- Louise
“Professional and Highly Recommended!”I started working with Joe Freda when I needed an attorney for custody and parenting time. Joe is so easy to talk to and has always explained everything clearly. He has always thought about what will be in my child's best interest. Joe continues to be easily accessible by phone or email when I need a question answered. I even followed Joe when he switched firms.! If anyone is looking for a knowledgeable family lawyer, then go with Joe.- Christine C.
“Throughout the process, this team chipped away and kept me informed, communicating clearly and regularly with me while listening to me with empathy and patience.”“To have had such pros in my court was truly a gift. Without my attorneys, I don’t think I could have won my case. I give them credit for getting a resolution and helping me move on so I can rebuild my life.”- Dean
“Greg Passler provides top representation regarding child’s best interest”After frustrating lack of results from another law firm, I was recommended to Mr. Passler and have since been able to sleep at night knowing he is intimately vested in our cause for our daughter. My case was not a divorce but about a parenting schedule, adversarial violations and safety and well-being issues for our special needs child. This law firm will stand up for your rights in a strategic and comprehensive manner. Mr. Passler is highly intelligent and experienced, and professional and courteous. You can be confident you will get impactful representation.- Vera
“Very knowledgeable, supportive, and accommodating throughout our time working together. Michael was always efficient and responsive.”“Very knowledgeable, supportive, and accommodating throughout our time working together. Michael was always efficient and responsive.”- Jessica
At DeTommaso Law Group, LLC, we believe that every client deserves unwavering support and a fearless advocate in their corner. We understand the emotional and legal challenges that families face during times of crisis, and we are committed to providing them with the strong, determined representation they deserve.
Our team of experienced family law attorneys possesses extensive knowledge in the field. We stay up-to-date with the latest legal developments to ensure that we provide the most effective strategies and guidance to our clients. Our deep understanding of family law empowers us to navigate complex legal processes and provide insightful advice.
We recognize that no two family law cases are the same. We tailor our approach to each client's specific needs and goals. By understanding their unique circumstances, we can develop personalized strategies that protect their interests and safeguard their rights.
We refuse to back down when it comes to fighting for our client's rights. We are not afraid to take on challenging cases or confront difficult opponents. Our unwavering commitment to our clients drives us to explore every legal avenue and utilize our expertise to secure the best possible outcomes.