Child Custody

In matters of custody, the child’s best interests reign supreme.

We all want what is best for our children

A divorce can be emotionally devastating to a child, so their best interests must always be put first in a court of law. This can often cause a great deal of conflict when one parent is at odds with the other over what is best for their child.

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What types of child custody are there?

There are two kinds of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody is where the child will primarily reside and with which parent, whereas legal custody is the legal right for a parent to make decisions for the child, including all medical, religious, and education decisions. The custody of the child can play a huge factor when determining child support arrangements.

What are some common child custody arrangements?

There are a number of different forms of child custody that the court can order. When determining child custody, the courts will always look at what is in the child’s best interests.

Sole Custody is when one parent is given full physical and legal custody of a child. The child lives with the custodial parent and all major decisions are made by that parent. The child may spend time with the other parent, as a parenting schedule dictates.

Joint Legal Custody is where both parents share the right to make decisions on their child’s behalf. One parent may still have physical custody of the child, but major decisions must be made together.

Shared Legal and Physical Custody is where both parents share the right to make decisions on their child’s behalf, and where the child will spend equal time with both parents, as dictated by a parenting plan. Common parenting plans could include 3 days with one parent, then 4 days with the next (3/4), or a 3/3/1 based schedule.

When parents cannot agree to a custody arrangement, the court will examine all factors, including employment and who is the child’s primary caregiver, to determine the ideal custody arrangement based on the child’s best interests. In these cases, a parenting plan must be put into place. This is a schedule that divides the child’s time between the two parents.

Can child custody plans change over time?

Lives change and so can custody arrangements and parenting plans. That said, changes to a custody plan should not be made lightly. Although child custody arrangements should be periodically revisited to address new issues that may arise, this does not necessarily mean any changes will be successful. For example, what if a parent gets a job in another state? As they get older, the needs and wishes of a child may change, which can also impact custody arrangements.

Another way that child custody arrangements can change is if negative factors are discovered that could impact the child’s wellbeing. This could be anything from alcohol and dependency issues to domestic violence and abuse. If you feel that your child is unsafe in the other parent’s care, you should approach the court with evidence of this immediately.

Although you can reach an agreement in principle to change a custody arrangement with another parent, this will not be legally enforceable unless there is a court order in place. In these cases, it can be best to hire a family law attorney to represent you and your interests.

In an ideal world, both parents would be able to work with each other to create a co-parenting plan and minimize the impact of the divorce on the child’s life. Collaborative law can be useful for this kind of negotiation. However, sometimes a mutual agreement is not always possible.

Child custody issues are extremely sensitive and nuanced. If you have questions regarding your specific child custody case, or any other areas of divorce and family law, please feel free to call us for a consult. We will provide you with individualized legal counsel with one of our family lawyers. Ideally, you may find a reasonable way to resolve your child support issues that may not involve the courts at all. This could include negotiation, mediation, or the Collaborative Law process. A collaboratively trained attorney can help you work together through collaborative practice to find parenting solutions that will result in the best possible child custody arrangement for your children.

Keith Family Law is a full service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

Our Family Law Services

Divorce & Separation

We provide expert legal guidance through the entire divorce process, from a period of separation to divorce finalization.
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When matters in a divorce need to be settled in family court, our attorneys are compassionate, commanding advocates.
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Collaborative Divorce

Explore a new process of divorce that has been proven to reduce conflict, preserve families, and promote lasting marital settlement agreements.
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Our divorce mediation services provide the expert help you need in devising a settlement agreement that both parties can live with.
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Alimony can be an emotional and complex component of divorce. We can help negotiate an acceptable outcome for everyone involved.
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Child Custody

Let us guide you through the often sensitive and nuanced child custody process to ensure your child's best interests are being met.
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Child Support

Child support issues can be varied and complex. We can help you ensure the wellbeing of your child is put before anything else.
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Equitable Distribution

Get the help you need to ensure all marital assets are distributed in an equitable manner between the parties involved.
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Domestic Violence

Receive the legal assistance you need in order to get you and your children out of a domestic violence situation and into safety.
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Keep control over your divorce with an agreement reached on your schedule and tailored specifically to your needs.
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We provide individualized legal counsel to help you determine your best course of action for when you must step into someone else's shoes.
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Wills & Powers of Attorney

Eliminate any uncertainty about your wishes after you have passed on or designate someone in advance to legally handle your affairs.
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Child Custody Attorneys in North Jersey

Divorce proceedings can quickly become highly contentious legal cases that cause both sides a great deal of anguish. However, one affected party that should not be forgotten is any children you had through the marriage. The divorce proceedings can have an outsized negative impact on children, so having experienced child custody attorneys in North Jersey help with the case can ensure that the interests of the children are not forgotten.

Finding the best child custody lawyers in Bergen County can help make the divorce less contentious and keep the child’s best interests at heart. Keith Family Law has worked with a wide range of clients to help them sift through the legal process and ensure their child custody rights are respected.

Representing Your Child Custody Case

Child custody cases can quickly devolve into smear campaigns against your fitness as a parent. For this reason, many seek the counsel of child custody attorneys in North Jersey in order to formulate an effective legal strategy to bring the custody hearings to an amicable conclusion. With the right child custody lawyers, you can ensure your case has the best possible representation you need to have your arguments prepared for court.

These cases often take many factors into consideration, such as the child’s relationship with each parent, which environment will be the best for the child’s well-being, and even the child’s preference in some cases. Whoever is granted custody will have the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, medical procedures, and more, making it all the more contentious to win your custody case.

Custody Litigation

Sometimes a child custody dispute is not about the custody terms—it’s about financial support. When one parent takes on most of the responsibilities involved with raising a child, the other should offer some financial support. As the custody litigation gets more contentious, it is wise to have child custody attorneys in North Jersey, including Essex County and Middlesex County, New Jersey, on your side.

Not only is the Keith Family Law team established child custody attorneys in North Jersey, but we have extensive experience working with people to get the financial support they need to provide for their children. With the best child support lawyers in Hudson County available, you know your case is in excellent hands.

Sorting through the complexities of child custody cases represents a significant investment on behalf of the attorney and you. Custody litigation is often a lengthy process, with child custody disputes putting substantial levels of stress and pressure not only on the parents, but also on the children. Our child custody attorneys in North Jersey work with you to limit how long these proceedings drag out and to get your family back to some sense of normalcy.

Our team has helped clients throughout New Jersey with their child custody cases, including the following counties:

  • Union County
  • Essex County
  • Bergen County
  • Hudson County
  • Somerset County
  • Middlesex County
  • Warren County
  • And More!

In addition to being the best child custody lawyers in the area, our team specializes in the different kinds of divorce services in Somerset County, including:

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