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Child Custody Attorneys in Bergen County

Protecting The Best Interests of Children in New Jersey

    Parent with custody of childWhen you are going through a divorce, we know that few things matter more to you than your children's future. Our Bergen County child custody lawyers are prepared to walk you through every aspect of child custody in a clear and compassionate manner.

    Our team-based approach ensures you’ll have a team of attorneys actively working on your case to provide high-quality service with a personalized touch.

    What Sets Our Firm Apart?

    • Free Case Consultations
    • Backed By 60+ Years Of Collective Experience
    • Evening Appointments Available
    • Client-Focused Service
    • Highly Respected Divorce Firm
    • Effective & Personalized Representation

    Types of Custody: Physical & Legal

    There are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical or residential refers to the parent the child lives with (the Parent of Primary Residence versus a Parent of Alternative Residence). Legal custody refers to the parent(s) responsible for making all major decisions affecting the child including those related to health, education, safety, and overall welfare. You will have the opportunity to come up with a custody plan with your spouse first.

    If you two cannot agree upon an arrangement, the court will be called upon to intervene usually with the benefit of a forensic custody evaluation prepared by a mental health expert.

    In New Jersey, the following options exist in relation to custody:

    • Sole Custody – One parent makes decisions for the child without the other parent.
    • Joint Legal Custody – Both parents have a say in and can participate in the decision-making process.
    • Parent of Primary Residence – Residence where the child primarily resides and spends the most time.
    • Parent of Alternative Residence – Residence where the child spends parenting time based upon a schedule.
    • True Shared Parenting Agreement – Both parents have rights to parenting time with their child.

    In an extremely contested child custody case, it is not uncommon for the parties to call upon the skills of a trusted family attorney. At Sherwood, Johnson & Poles, our Bergen County child custody attorneys are compassionate to the needs of our clients, and we work to help reach amicable and fair resolutions for the entire family.

    Child custody is awarded based on the following factors:Little boy playing with paper boat in a puddle

    • Needs of the child
    • Fitness of the parents
    • History of domestic violence
    • Parents' employment responsibilities
    • Stability of the home environment offered
    • Quality and continuity of the child's education
    • Geographical proximity of the parents' homes
    • Interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings
    • Parents' ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child
    • Safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent
    • Extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation
    • Preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision
    • Parents' willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse

    Child holding a parent's handOther Factors to Consider When Evaluating Custody

    Judges may take into account the ages and number of children, the location of the child's school, each parent's job situation, and the distance between the parents' homes. A court may deem that a parent is unfit if a history of child abuse, drug addiction, or even domestic violence exists. Usually, in these situations a parent will have restricted or supervised visitation for a period of time. In extreme cases, the court can terminate the parental rights.

    How To Modify Child Custody Agreements

    It is not uncommon for a custody plan to be modified well after the initial arrangement has been finalized. Whenever a change in circumstance occurs, a modification may be necessary. For example, a custody plan will have to be revisited if one spouse is planning to move outside of the state of New Jersey.

    To learn more about custody and to discuss which plans might work best for you, do not hesitate to speak with a member of our legal team today. Contact our child custody lawyers in Bergen County, New Jersey.

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