New Jersey courts encourage collaborative custody agreements
New Jersey courts encourage parents to work collaboratively together to establish a mutually-agreeable custody plan.
October 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- New Jersey courts encourage collaborative custody agreements
Article provided by Levine & Levine
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While the average rate of divorce in New Jersey is slightly lower than the national average at 2.9 per 1,000 people versus 3.6 nationally according to the Center for Disease Control, the depth of the effect of a divorce is equally strong. This is notably so in cases where minor children are involved. The need to identify when, where and how often a child will get to see a child that previously he or she lived with on a daily basis is a loss to all involved and decisions surrounding child custody are rarely simple to make.
Custody options in New Jersey
There are essentially two primary types of custody--legal and physical. Legal custody is the identification of which parent or parents will have the rights and responsibility to make major decisions for the children. These include healthcare, schools, religion and more. Physical custody is the identification of where a child will live and where he or she will call home.
Both legal and physical custodies can be awarded as shared between both parents, known as joint, or to one party only which is called sole custody. In the event that physical custody is awarded to only one parent, it is common for the non-custodial parent to be given visitation, which is referred to as parenting time.
How is custody determined?
New Jersey courts encourage parents to work collaboratively together to establish a mutually-agreeable custody plan. That can be a lot to ask of people who are getting a divorce, but it is considered to be within the best interests of the child. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as abuse, most judges will approve such an agreement.
If parents are unable to agree to a plan on their own, a judge can order mandatory mediation in which a neutral third party works with the mother and father to negotiate areas of difference and attempt to agree upon a resolution for custody and visitation.
If mediation is unsuccessful, the judge can request that each parent provide his or her own preferred custody and visitation plan. After this, a child expert is appointed to conduct an in-depth evaluation of both parents and households that includes the following:
-Data from interviews with family members
The thoroughness of this evaluation can take up to eight months to conduct. In the ideal world, parents will have arrived at their own agreement during this time but, if not, the evaluation data is used for a trial that will decide the ultimate custody ruling.
The right legal help matters
Any major decision regarding your children and your time and relationship with them is worth ensuring you have the best help possible. If you are working through a child custody agreement, it is always advisable to get input from an experienced family law attorney.
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