There is nothing more important to a parent than their child, which is why when a Morristown child custody lawyer from Graves Andrews, LLC takes your case, you will feel at ease knowing that our firm cares about your family just as you do. For years, our experienced and compassionate attorneys have effectively assisted countless divorcing parents and their children through the legal process, and our firm is ready to do the same for you as well. From the moment you walk through our doors, you will understand that your case is in good hands. Contact Graves Andrews, LLC today to learn more about child custody in New Jersey and how our firm can help you.
Do I Need a Morristown Child Custody Lawyer?
As a parent, your number one priority is the well-being of your child. As such, you believe that it is imperative that you remain a part of your child’s life, even after a divorce. Unfortunately, child custody is among the most hotly-contested divorce-related issues, which is why if you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody terms, the most important thing you can do is hire a knowledgeable Morristown family law attorney who can fight for your child’s best interests through every step of the process ahead.
Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
In the state of New Jersey, there are two primary types of custody: physical and legal custody. Physical custody deals with where a child will live. In most cases, as long as it is in the best interests of the child, courts would prefer to have a relatively even split of physical custody between both parents so they can both play significant roles in their child’s life. However, if they determine that it is in the child’s best interests to live with one parent over the other, that parent will receive primary custody of the child.
That being said, you should understand that in many ways, retaining legal custody of your child is even more important than physical custody. This is because legal custody gives a parent the legal authority to make certain critical decisions regarding a child’s upbringing. Without legal custody of a child, a parent has no legal say in where the child goes to school, what type of religion a child practices, what types of medical treatment a child receives, and more.
Determining Child Custody in New Jersey
When courts determine a child custody agreement, their primary focus will be the child’s best interests. This means that regardless of your wishes, your child’s needs will take precedent. Courts will consider a multitude of factors when deciding on child custody, including the following, to name a few:
- The bond that the child has with each of his or her parents
- If the child is old/mature enough, whether he or she has a preference
- Whether each parent can provide the child with a safe living environment
- Whether each parent can support their child both emotionally and financially
- The child’s activities and/or current schedule
- Whether the child has any special needs
- Who the primary caregiver is
- Any other factor that the court deems relevant
Modifying Child Custody in New Jersey
Oftentimes, in the months and years following a divorce, the lives of parents and their children will change significantly. When this happens, in many cases, a child custody modification is in order. If you, your child, and the other custodial parent cannot reach an agreement on your own, there is a very good chance that you will have to prove to the court that there has been a significant and lasting change in circumstances that warrants a modification to your initial child custody agreement. Some examples of situations that call for a modification to a child custody agreement include the following:
- Your child’s schedule has changed
- Your child’s needs have changed
- One parent developed a substance abuse issue
- One parent exposed the child to an incident of domestic violence
- One parent is trying to sabotage the child’s relationship with the other parent, or otherwise proves him or herself to be unfit to be a parent
- The child is old enough and can voice his or her preference
You should also note that if you were not initially granted custody of your child for any given reason, you may still request a modification to obtain at least partial custody of your child at some point down the road, as long as you can prove that you obtaining custody of your child will be in your child’s best interests. That being said, these are just some of the circumstances that may warrant a child custody modification, and if you are someone who is currently looking to modify the terms of your child custody agreement, you should strongly consider hiring a knowledgeable Morristown child custody lawyer who can work to gather and present all evidence needed to prove that a modification to your custody agreement is truly warranted.
Contact a Morristown Child Custody Lawyer
We understand how important the outcome of your child custody agreement is to both you and your child, which is why you can rest assured that our competent Morristown family law attorneys will tirelessly work on your behalf throughout the duration of your case. We are always on your side, and your family’s needs are our number one priority. Contact Graves Andrews, LLC today to schedule your free initial consultation with our firm.