FYI: Divorce is about parents — child custody is about children

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

In most divorce cases that involve couples with children in New Jersey, the courts prefer to award both parents as the caretakers and guardians of the children. The court can distinguish between legal and physical child custody. Shared legal custody allows both parents equal roles in matters relating to the child’s religion, academics and activities. Parents who share physical custody must work together in establishing a schedule that will divide the time the child spends with each parent.

Working out the logistics and coordinating schedules could be challenging, especially when those who are collaborating got divorced because they could not stand each other. Advisers provide some tips to achieve this without too much contention. They remind parents that joint custody is not about them but about the children — the divorce is all about the parents. They all agree that parents should never speak poorly about each other with the children.

When planning the custody arrangement, parents are advised to be realistic about their commitments and schedules. These matters must be considered when drafting a parenting plan, along with the personalities and ages of the children. Their activities, both academic and extracurricular, must be accommodated along with the locations of child care facilities and also the distance between the homes of the two parents and schools.

Along with these basics, many other aspects will need consideration when a child custody agreement is made. It could be a daunting process, but help is available. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can provide valuable support and guidance along every step of the way, making sure that nothing is forgotten, while never losing sight of the best interests of the child.

FindLaw Network