The children often take the brunt of the divorce. There is no easy way to say your family dynamics will change entirely because your parents want to separate. As parents, you know what is best for your children. Typically, that means both parents should remain active in their children’s lives. But that is not always necessarily the case. In cases of domestic violence, substance abuse and neglect, the children might be better off if the unfit parent remains distant. If you are gearing up for a child custody proceeding, here are the fundamental terms you need to know and fully comprehend.
Joint legal custody
Joint legal custody is when both parents have the legal authority to decide for their children. You can distribute the responsibilities between parents. For example, one parent can choose where the children will go to school and the type of education they will receive. The other parent can then be the primary decision-maker for the children’s health care or religious upbringing. However, both parents are still responsible for the general welfare of their children. You can also decide all significant factors in your children’s lives together. Both parents can always have a say on all major issues.
Whatever the case, each parent should have access to relevant information concerning their children. The primary custodial parent can govern the children’s daily routine, but they must keep the other parent regularly updated. They should also consult with the noncustodial parent whenever appropriate.
Sole legal custody
If a parent has sole legal custody, they have the authority to make all major decisions without consulting or notifying the other parent. A parent who believes they should have sole legal custody must prove to the court that the other parent is mentally or physically incapable of raising their children.
Primary residential custody
In New Jersey, residential custody is the legal term for physical custody. The children will live with the parent who has primary residential custody majority of the time.
Shared residential custody
Ideally, when parents have shared residential custody, they will spend equal amounts of time with their children each year. But we know that is not always possible. No matter what happens, neither parent should interfere with the other parent’s parenting time.
Parents must collaborate in most child custody cases if they want to create a parenting time plan that is feasible and sustainable. Simply put, it is your schedule with your children.
Child custody can prolong a divorce, especially when disputes arise. Remember that as a parent, you have a right to fight for your children’s best interests.