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Child custody is one of the most important matters to determine in the event of a divorce. Read on to learn more about how child custody is determined in New Jersey and what you need to know about the process.

What are the Types of Custody?

There are two main types of custody in New Jersey: physical and legal.

Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child spends more nights of the week. This parent is responsible for providing a stable environment, food, clothes, a home, and other necessities. As a result, this parent may receive child support from the non-custodial parent. In some cases, parents work together to split physical custody equally.

Legal custody is not dependent upon physical custody, meaning you can have legal custody even if you do not have physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions in the lives of their children. These decisions may include issues of religion, education, medical treatments, and more.

Is Sole Custody Common?

For the most part, New Jersey courts strongly believe that a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents. As a result, the court will work to make this happen. That being said, there are some cases in which a parent may be deemed unfit. This may occur in situations involving neglect, domestic violence, drug abuse, and so on. In this case, the fit parent may receive sole custody. The parent who is not awarded custody may still receive visitation rights.

What Factors Determine Custody?

In order to determine custody, a New Jersey court will examine some of the following factors:

  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The history of domestic abuse
  • The child’s special needs
  • The stability of a home life that each parent can provide
  • The ability of the parent to act in the child’s best interests

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child custody arrangement in New Jersey, contact our firm today.


Here at McNerney & McAuliffe, we understand how confusing certain legal matters can be, which is why we are here to provide clients from all walks of life with the experienced, compassionate legal guidance they need. If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, you can turn to us. Contact McNerney & McAuliffe today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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