New Jersey Child Custody and Child Visitation
Child custody and child visitation are two of the primary issues that must be addressed by parents who reside separately. Courts in New Jersey follow most jurisdictions in the country and determine child custody and child visitation issues by utilizing the best interests of the child standard. There are a number of factors that are taken into account by the New Jersey court when determining a child's best interests. These factors and other information pertaining to child custody and child visitation under New Jersey law are provided below. While this information is useful, it is not comprehensive; you should consult a New Jersey child custody attorney before going through child custody or child visitation proceedings.
New Jersey Child Custody
Courts in New Jersey will award either sole or joint custody to a parent. This determination is made through the analysis of the child's best interests, but New Jersey aims to keep frequent and continuing contact between both parents and their child. The following factors are considered by New Jersey courts when determining the child's best interests:
Under New Jersey law, courts cannot award custody (sole or joint) or visitation rights to a parent convicted of sexual assault unless the parent shows by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the child for him or her to receive child custody. If the convicted parent is granted custody, then the other parent has ten days to appeal the court's decision.
New Jersey courts also allow any parent to file a writ of habeas corpus, which will force the court to determine the child's custody at that time. The court will consider the best interests of the child and grant custody that it deems proper under the circumstances.
The WhenAs recommended above, a New Jersey child custody attorney should be consulted prior to entering child custody proceedings due to the complex nature of the child custody process.
New Jersey Child Visitation Rights
Noncustodial parents may receive visitation rights in New Jersey. Visitation rights refer to the applicant's rights to visit and spend time with the child. New Jersey courts will grant visitation rights when the best interests of the child standard, used above for child custody determinations, is satisfied.
Grandparents or any sibling of the child in question may request visitation rights. In order for the court to grant such child visitation in New Jersey, the grandparent or sibling must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it is in the best interests of the child to grant them visitation. The following factors are considered when coming to this determination:
a) the relationship between the applicant and child
b) the relationship between the child's parents and the applicant
c) how long it has been since the child last had contact with the applicant
d) the effect the visitation will have on the child's relationship with the parent and the applicant
e) the good intentions of the applicant
f) the history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant.
The process of obtaining child visitation rights should not be approached alone. You should consult a New Jersey child custody attorney with experience working on child visitation issues before going through any proceedings.
New Jersey Statutes