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Child custody: Best interests of the child the paramount concern

When New Jersey parents file for divorce, the entire process becomes more complicated if they have minor children. Parents can negotiate a custody arrangement that would best suit them, but the judge has the final say. The court considers a range of factors to assess whether the child custody and parenting plans negotiated by the parents is in the best interests of the child.

Avoid child custody conflict -- add these to the parenting plan

Whenever parents in New Jersey or elsewhere decide to divorce, establishing a parenting plan is an important part of this challenging process, even if it is an amicable breakup. Sometimes, adding things that seem insignificant in the child custody agreement now might avoid contention later. Including those topics to the parenting plan can make it easier for the child to adjust to the new dynamics.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan's child custody terms

There is no shortage of media reports about the divorce of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. Some people in New Jersey might have questions about the meaning of the terms used concerning the child custody arrangements of these celebrities. The terms "co-parenting counseling" and "custody schedule" might be familiar, but what does "image, name and likeness" mean?

Holiday season challenges of child custody and parenting time

With proper planning, divorced parents in New Jersey and across the country can make sure that the holiday season remains "the most wonderful time of the year," just like the classic Andy Williams song from 1963. The first step would be to check the most recent child custody court order to be clear which parent is scheduled to have the children, and when. Changes can be made by agreement, but it's best to plan ahead. Discussing holiday plans with the other parent is best done well in advance, and involving the children in the planning -- at least to some extent -- can help them to adjust to the new family dynamics.

Child custody or guardianship: Grandparents raising grandchildren

More and more grandparents in New Jersey and elsewhere take on the raising of their grandchildren. In many cases, grandparents take over when parents are no longer able to care for the children. This is often the result of substance or alcohol abuse or other matters. Because parents retain child custody, the only way grandparents have to prevent them from taking the children back is to petition the court for guardianship.

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

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.

Child custody when father's name is not on birth certificate

Many children are born to unmarried parents in New Jersey and across the country. This could lead to questions about child custody. If paternity is formally established, the fact that the child's parents are not married makes no difference under the law. However, if both parents did not sign an acknowledgment of paternity, the father's name will not be on the child's birth certificate, and the mother will have no right to child support without first proving paternity.

Possible questions at a child custody hearing in New Jersey

Family courts in New Jersey favor arrangements in which children will continue to benefit from loving relationships with both parents after a divorce. However, the judge will likely have several concerns to ensure the final child custody order protect the best interests of the child. These issues will likely be addressed at a child custody hearing.

Child custody: How is the child's best interest determined?

Child-related decisions in family courts nationwide, including New Jersey are based on the best interests of the child. Judges look at various factors when they consider child custody arrangements. The first consideration will be the mental and physical health of the parent seeking custody, along with his or her ability to meet the child's emotional and physical needs. Included are shelter, food, clothing, education and medical care -- to be provided with loving care, support and parental guidance.

Child custody: The benefits of grandparents seeking guardianship

Statistics show that grandparents in New Jersey and other states take care of as many as one in every ten children. This could be a significant challenge to grandparents who have not taken steps to formalize their statuses as care providers. Several legal options are available, including adoption and petitioning the court for child custody or guardianship. The latter is said to give the grandparents the legal rights they need to care for the child without going through the adoption process.

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