New Jersey courts encourage joint custody when it is in the best interests of the child. Judges presume that a child benefits from spending ample time with each parent unless a parent is unfit. However, before assuming that shared child custody is the best decision for you and your family, you should consider the pros and cons of such an arrangement. 

The Pros of Shared Custody in New Jersey

There are many benefits of shared child custody in New Jersey, as discussed below.

Continuity and Stability

Sharing custody can promote continuity and stability for the child. They continue a relationship with each parent instead of being separated for long periods. Shared custody can reduce the negative emotional impact of a divorce on children.

Cooperation and Co-Parenting

Shared custody encourages both parents to share the responsibilities of raising their child. It promotes cooperation as parents work together to develop a time-sharing agreement and plan that works best for their family. Joint custody can foster a healthier relationship between all family members.

Reduced Financial Burdens

New Jersey uses standard child support guidelines to calculate the financial responsibility of each parent. Even if you share custody, one parent generally pays child support to the other parent. It is often the higher-earning parent who pays child support.

However, the time you spend with your child can be a factor in child support obligations. Therefore, 50-50 custody could reduce the amount you would pay under a different type of custody arrangement.

The Cons of Shared Custody in New Jersey

There are potential disadvantages of shared custody arrangements. Things to consider before agreeing to shared custody in New Jersey include:

Logistical Problems

Shared custody means transferring the children between parents more often. Therefore, this arrangement could pose logistical challenges for the parents. Depending on the distance between the parents’ homes, parents and children could spend a great deal of time traveling back and forth.

Disruptive Situation

The constant back-and-forth between two homes could disrupt the continuity and stability of the child’s environment. Shared custody arrangements need to consider a child’s developmental needs, age, school requirements, and extracurricular activities. Some children function better if they have a primary home.

Conflict Between the Parents

Shared custody requires cooperation and flexibility. Parents must be able to communicate effectively and be civil to one another. If parents constantly argue or cannot resolve conflicts productively, shared custody might make matters worse.

How Do I Obtain Shared Custody in Bergen County, NJ?

Working with an experienced Bergen County child custody lawyer is the first step. An attorney can help you evaluate the pros and cons of shared custody as they apply to your situation. They can also assist you in determining whether shared custody is in your child’s best interests.

New Jersey courts decide child custody matters in the best interests of the child. If parents cannot agree upon custody terms, the court evaluates several factors. 

Those factors include:

  • The child’s needs
  • Each parent’s willingness to care for the child
  • The stability of the home environment of the parents
  • The relationship between each parent and the child
  • A parent’s agreement, willingness, and ability to communicate effectively with the child’s other parent
  • The interactions between the parents and the child

Judges may consider other factors when deciding child custody. For example, they may examine the quality and continuity of a child’s education and the child’s relationship with other household members. The judge also considers allegations of domestic violence and abuse.

The bottom line is that the court will protect the child’s best interest in a custody case. Even when parents agree to custody terms, the judge reviews the proposed parenting plan and timesharing agreement. If they believe any terms are not in the child’s best interest, the judge can modify the agreement before entering a final custody order.

Most child custody cases come before the court during a divorce action. However, these matters may also arise because of questions of paternity, abuse, or neglect. 

If you have questions about child custody laws in New Jersey, contact a Bergen County family law attorney for advice.

Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help

Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Bergen County Law Office
1 University Plaza Dr #400, Hackensack, NJ 07601, United States