For those who are dealing with the New Jersey family courts for the first time, the system can be difficult and intimidating to navigate. If you are getting divorced and are a parent, child custody will likely be one of the most important issues you will face. Therefore, it may be helpful to have an understanding of the different types of custody that exist.
According to the New Jersey Law Journal, there are two types of custody that you may be granted. The first is physical custody. This determines where your child will live. Sole physical custody means that your child lives only with one parent, whereas joint physical custody means that the child will split his or time between both parents. If you have joint physical custody, when your child is with you, you will be able to make small decisions about everyday life, such as what to have for dinner and what time your child goes to bed, without consulting your ex.
The other type of custody is known as legal custody. A parent who has legal custody has the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s life and well-being. Everything from what school the child attends to what types of medical treatment the child receives are decided by the parent with legal custody of the child.
Just as with physical custody, legal custody can be granted jointly. This means that you and your ex would be required to work together to make decisions that are in your child’s best interest. If your divorce is amicable, this may be easy to accomplish. However, if your split is contentious, agreeing on things may be difficult and conflict may ensue.