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Legal Custody And Physical Custody: Understanding The Differences

At Tournour Law, our child custody attorney, Frank Tournour, has been helping clients in New Brunswick with child custody challenges and issues for over 30 years. If you are getting separated, contemplating a divorce, or navigating child custody issues, he can help fight for your child’s best interests and parental rights.

Child Custody In New Jersey Understanding The Differences

When parents are contemplating a separation or trying to reach a divorce settlement, the most contentious issues can be determining child custody and reaching an agreement with respect to parenting time and visitation. Many factors are considered to determine legal and physical custody rights. But in New Jersey, the court will always make a decision based on what is in the child’s best interest.

What Is Legal Custody?

Important life decisions such as education, a child’s medical care, religious affiliations, academic tutoring and other serious choices will be made by a parent with legal custody. The court typically prefers to award joint legal custody of a child or children, striving to keep both parents involved in the decisions and rearing. It is not uncommon for parents to share legal custody and work together in the decision-making process.

With joint legal custody, decisions will continue to be made much in the same way as when the marriage was still intact. With joint legal custody, it is the responsibility of the parents to reach a common agreement with respect to big decisions.

However, depending on the circumstances of the case, a judge may grant sole legal custody to one parent instead of the other. Situations where one party has abandoned the child or is incarcerated, or when abuse is present, may result in a grant of sole legal custody to the other parent.

What Is Physical Custody?

Physical custody identifies where the child resides. Although physical custody may also be sole or joint, it is more common for one parent to be granted the sole physical custody of a child. In the past, joint custody was more common and the child’s time was split equally between parents, but it has become more of the norm for judges to view a 50-50 split as not being in the best interest of the child or children. In most jurisdictions, the courts generally seek to minimize disruption for the child.

Navigating Child Custody Issues? We Can Help.

Child custody matters and visitation and parenting time issues can be complicated and potentially contentious. At Tournour Law, our attorney, Frank Tournour, has the knowledge and experience necessary to help you face these issues by advising you of your parental rights and responsibilities, negotiating on your behalf, and fighting for the best interests of your child if it becomes necessary.

Call Today To Schedule An Initial Consultation

No matter what kind of child custody circumstances you are dealing with, we can help. Don’t wait. Reach out today to schedule your initial consultation by calling us at 732-913-3634 or send us a message through our online form. We look forward to talking with you more about your situation and telling you more about how we can help you.