Making a New Jersey Custody Agreement

Jan 20 17:53 2011 Tracy Bensun Print This Article

Whatever state you live in, you need to know the child custody laws it has if you are divorced or separated and have children. The state of New Jersey is no different.

Whatever state you live in,Guest Posting you need to know the child custody laws it has if you are divorced or separated and have children. The state of New Jersey is no different. If you live in New Jersey, have children and have divorced or separated from your partner, you need to know the laws so you can create an effective custody agreement. You can find New Jersey's public policy in Title 9 of the New Jersey Statutes. In Title 9, public policy states that after parents have divorced or separated they are encouraged to share the responsibilities and rights of child raising. The strategy for how parents will share those rights and responsibilities is commonly called a child custody agreement. In a custody agreement, parents can outline how they will share parenting time (physical custody), make decisions for the child (legal custody) and provide for their child's overall well-being and welfare. As you make your agreement, make sure that it is in line with New Jersey's laws.

To begin, you need to know some of the basic policies that the courts have about child custody. Title 9:2-4 details some good information that can help you create a New Jersey custody agreement the court will uphold. Some of the statutes concerning child custody you need to know include:

  • Both parents' rights are equal in any legal custody proceeding.

  • Any arrangement upon which both parents agree will be upheld by the court unless it is not in the best interest of the child.

  • Each parent must submit a custody plan for the court if they cannot agree on a collaborative agreement.

  • Factors which justify any custody agreement not agreed upon by both parents will be placed on record by the court.

  • Both parents have frequent and continuing contact with their child after their divorce or separation.

  • Parents are encouraged to share the responsibilities and rights of child raising after their divorce or separation.

Next, you need to know the types of custody arrangements are considered acceptable in New Jersey. This will be the backbone of your agreement and gives the definitions of how parents will continue to raise their child. After you have decided the type of custody agreement that works best for your situation, you can get into the specifics that personalize your agreement. In New Jersey, your custody agreement can have:

  • Joint custody - This refers to joint legal or physical custody and means your agreement will have provisions for residential arrangements so your child lives alternatively with each parent; or your child may live solely with one parent and your agreement will have provisions for consultation between parents in making major decisions about your child's education, health, and overall welfare.

  • Sole custody - One parent has legal and physical custody of the child and a non-custodial parent has appropriate parenting time. The custodial parent makes all major decisions and is responsible for providing the child's physical care.

  • Any other custody arrangement - The court will always consider the best interest of the child and it may order a different custody arrangement if it sees fit it.

Your custody agreement should be made in the best interest of your child. You must consider all of your child's needs to make an agreement that will most benefit your child. Some factors the court considers when deciding the best interests of the child include:

  • The parents' ability to communicate, agree and cooperate in matters regarding the child;

  • Each parent's willingness to accept custody of the child;

  • Any history of either parent being unwilling to allow parenting time to the other parent;

  • The child's interaction and relationship with each parent and any siblings;

  • Any history of domestic violence

  • The child's safety;

  • The child's preference (if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference);

  • The child's needs;

  • The stability of the child's home environment;

  • The child's educational quality and continuity;

  • The parents' fitness;

  • The distance between the parents' homes;

  • The quality and extent of the time each parent has spent with the child before or during the separation;

  • The parents' work schedules or employment responsibilities; and

  • The child's age and number of the children.

As you create your New Jersey custody agreement, keep your child's best interests in mind and you cannot go wrong.

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About Article Author

Tracy Bensun
Tracy Bensun

Tracy Bensun is interested in the law and especially family law. Her main interest lies in how children are affected by divorce and child custody. She has done extensive research on her own and loves to share her knowledge. She is affiliated with Custody X Change, which is a software program designed to assist in child custody visitation schedules, custody agreements and parenting plans.

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