If you and your spouse are going through a divorce, and you have children, you may have questions about custody and how the courts decide it. There are various things to know about the process to help you navigate it.
According to FindLaw, the courts encourage the parents to figure out the custody arrangement that works best for them and the children. However, if they are unable to agree, the court takes over.
Types of custody
There are two types of custody: Physical and legal. Physical refers to whom the children will live with, and legal refers to whom can make important decisions regarding the child. The state leans towards joint custody in most cases, although this does not mean that the children will live with each parent 50% of the time.
If the parents can come up with a custody arrangement, they still must have the court approve of their parenting plan. According to the New Jersey Courts, the parenting plan must be as specific as possible. Some things it should include are:
- Addresses and employment of each party
- Type of requested custody
- Visitation schedule as well as the plan for holidays, special occasions and school breaks
- Decision-making participation
- Access to school medical records
If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the courts will make the decision. The courts will consider what is in the best interest of the children and investigate each party’s economic condition, the character of each party, each party’s home, other family members and the children’s relationships with them and each party’s ability to pay for the children’s needs.