Parents in New Jersey who are getting a divorce might have questions about their options for child custody. Before making a decision, parents should understand the difference between the two types of custody — physical and legal. The child lives with the parent or parents who have physical custody. Parents with legal custody can make decisions about education, health care and other important things related to the child’s welfare. Each of these types of custody might be joint or sole.
A typical joint custody arrangement might involve the child alternating between the parents’ houses, spending a few days or a week with one parent and then the other. However, some exes opt for a less traditional arrangement in which the children remain at the family home while the parents take turns living there.
Parents who want their children to live with the same-sex parent during the child’s teen years might use a kind of sole custody known as serial custody. This involves the child spending several years with one parent and then the other. However, this could lead to difficulty bonding with the noncustodial parent. Exes might also opt for split custody in which siblings are divided between the parents.
Once parents understand their options for child custody and visitation, they may want to try to negotiate an agreement. Parents often share legal custody even if only one parent has physical custody. When reaching a custody agreement, parents should keep in mind that most experts agree that children should have time with both parents unless there are extenuating circumstances such as abuse. Parents who cannot agree on child custody will have to go to court where a judge will decide based on the best interests of the child.