Moorestown Child Custody Lawyers
Child custody is one of the most important issues that divorcing couples must deal with as their marriage ends. With so much at stake, it is no surprise that child custody disputes are often emotionally charged and contentious. When both parents work together so that the child continues to have a meaningful and healthy relationship with both parents, the best interest of the child remains as the highest priority. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Experienced NJ child custody lawyers can assist families with resolving their child custody disputes as quickly and painlessly as possible while ensuring that the physical, emotional and financial needs of the child continue to be met.
Child custody involves not only with whom and where a child with live, but who will have decision making power with respect to significant child-rearing issues such as healthcare, education and religious observances.
In New Jersey, parents can have sole legal and physical custody, joint legal custody or shared legal and physical custody. An experienced child custody attorney can assist you in determining which child custody arrangement is in the best interest of your child.
The most common type of custody is joint legal custody where the child lives primarily with one parent while decision making power is shared jointly between parents. Sole legal custody occurs when a child resides with one parent who also has sole decision-making power with respect to child-raising issues. Often sole legal custody is granted when the parent with whom the child does not reside is unable to properly care for the child due to prior child neglect charges, drug or alcohol addiction, or due to their history of being an unfit parent. Shared legal and physical custody occurs when the child’s permanent residency is split equally between two homes so that parenting time is divided as equally as possible. In this arrangement, the decision-making power of both parents is also equal.
While child custody issues arise most frequently during divorce proceedings, child custody may also become an issue when a child needs to be protected from abuse or when a biological parent seeks to enter a child’s life for the first time or after a long separation. In addition to divorcing couples, single parents and fathers seeking to establish paternity may also have child custody claims.
How NJ Child Custody Lawyers Can Help
An experienced Cherry Hill child custody lawyer can assist you with a variety of child custody issues including:
Visitation and Parenting Time Agreements
Parents who do not have physical custody may seek visitation or parenting time with their child. If parents cannot agree on visitation and parenting time arrangements, it will be left up to a judge to decide these critical issues. To avoid having a judge decide, parents can mutually agree on their own visitation and parenting time agreements. Such agreements need to reflect a variety of factors such as parent work schedules, travel plans, holidays, school breaks, special occasions, transportation issues, child care issues and the opportunity for the child to spend time with extended families.
Modification of Child Custody Agreements
Even the best drafted child custody agreements may need to be modified for a variety of reasons. New Jersey courts will modify child custody orders when there is a “substantial change in circumstances.” Relocation by a parent due to marriage or change in employment are common reasons why child custody arrangements may need to be modified. When one parent leaves the state, a child custody attorney can help families navigate the complexities of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) which governs interstate child custody disputes.
Addressing Parental Alienation
Parental alienation can take many forms including badmouthing the other parent in front of the child, canceling scheduled visits and failing to consult a parent with joint legal custody when making significant parenting decisions. When one parent turns a child against the other parent, the child can be irrevocably harmed. Child custody issues and parental alienation often go hand in hand. When parents work amicably to reach child custody arrangements fair to all parties, parental alienation is much less likely to occur.
Establishing kinship legal guardianship
When neither parent can properly take care of a child, family members or friends often step in to raise child. In those cases, child custody often becomes an issue. If someone other than a parent cares for a child for at least 12 months, that individual may petition for appointment as a kinship legal guardian to obtain sole legal custody of the child.
Moorestown Child Custody Lawyers at the Hartman Group Assist Families Dealing with Child Custody Matters
New Jersey child custody lawyers at the Hartman Group and Frances A. Hartman assist families dealing with child custody issues with sensitivity and professionalism. Attorney Hartman has offices conveniently located in Moorestown, New Jersey to serve family law clients throughout New Jersey including those in the Cherry Hill region, and throughout Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County, Cape May County, Salem County and Atlantic County. To further discuss your New Jersey child custody issue, call Frances A. Hartman today at 856-235-4511 or contact her online to schedule a confidential consultation with a qualified NJ child custody lawyer.