Monmouth County Attorneys for Joint Custody
Child custody can be an incredibly contentious issue for parents who are splitting up. A child custody arrangement should always consider the best interests of the child first and foremost. Depending on the circumstances of the couple’s decision to break up, the best option for your child may be a joint custody arrangement.
The Monmouth County child custody lawyers of the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. devote their practice to helping families like yours. We know child custody disputes can be an overwhelming and difficult time for your family. So let us assist you with the process to alleviate some of that stress. Don’t hesitate. Please call the family law attorneys of the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. at (732) 898-2378 and let us help with your case.
What Is Joint Custody?
Joint custody happens when both parents participate in a child’s custody arrangement. In other words, both parents share the responsibilities of parenthood. The child may primarily live with one parent or alternate between parents. The parents can reach this agreement amicably or it can be handed down by a Family Court judge in New Jersey.
It is preferable that parents are able to work out their own visitation schedule without court intervention, especially if the child primarily lives with one parent. This may include such arrangements as the child spending every other weekend and one night a week with the other parent. Grandparents may also be included in such a schedule. If the child is old enough, a court may consider their wishes with regard to their living arrangements.
Joint custody is common in the state and courts generally prefer this outcome. Judges will encourage both parents to be actively involved in their child’s life regardless of the pending break-up. Having the parents share equal responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the child and in the child’s best interests is the ideal arrangement.
What Are the Types of Joint Custody?
Two different types of joint custody generally result when the parents get along well enough to mutually agree to whatever terms they are most comfortable with.
Joint Legal Custody
With joint legal custody, both parents can provide input with regard to major decisions involving the child. Sometimes the parents agree to share decision-making for some matters, such as health care, but not others, like education. Even if the child primarily lives with one parent, this is the most common overall type of joint custody arrangement.
Joint Physical Custody
This is essentially shared parenting. Joint physical custody can include any living situation from every other weekend with one parent to a 50-50 split over the course of a year. However, unless the parents live in close proximity to one another, an even split of days over the course of a year can be difficult to achieve. This is particularly challenging as the children get older, are more involved in extracurricular activities, and spend more time with friends. While joint physical custody has become more common in recent years, it is still not as common as joint legal custody.
Additionally, parents and/or courts can come up with an arrangement that lies somewhere between joint legal custody and joint physical custody. This makes sense, as every set of family circumstances is unique. For example, some parents have agreed to allow the children to remain in the family home that they are familiar with, and the parents split time staying there with them. This has been called a bird’s nest custody arrangement and typically involves small children.
Factors a Court Considers
If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, then there are many factors the court will consider in determining what’s in the best interests of the child. These factors include:
- The distance between the two parents’ residences
- The circumstances that led to the split, as some break-ups are more contentious than others
- The physical and mental wellbeing of each parent
- The needs of the child, particularly when it comes to their healthcare and education
- Each parent’s income and the projected financial needs of the child
- The parent’s homes and other people residing there
- Any criminal history of the parents
It is not uncommon for a judge to order parents unable to come up with a custody arrangement on their own to go to mediation. A custody evaluation by a mental health professional is also sometimes required in certain situations. The professional then presents their recommendations to a judge with regard to what custody arrangement they believe is in the best interests of the child.
Why You Should Hire the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq.
If you are going through a custody dispute, you should contact the experienced Monmouth County joint custody attorneys at the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. today at (732) 898-2378. We completely understand what you are going through. We will apply our extensive experience in family law, particularly custody arrangements, to help you determine what course of action will be best for your family and especially your child.
Our law office has been honored as one of the ten best firms in client satisfaction by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Our team truly cares about our clients, and that is proven in the results we deliver for them.
In addition to fighting for you and your child’s best interests, we have a great working relationship with the local family court system, so we have the ability to keep your case moving forward. We will provide a thorough case review and work side-by-side with you in an attempt to create a custody plan that suits you and your child’s needs.
Don’t wait. Call us today. Let the knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. help you navigate this stressful custody process. Call now.