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Child Custody Arrangements When One Parent Faces Incarceration: Navigating New Jersey’s Legal Landscape

  • By: Eric Hannum, Esq.
  • Published: July 16, 2023
Child Custody Arrangements When One Parent Faces Incarceration: Navigating New Jersey's Legal Landscape

Child custody laws in Manasquan, New Jersey, are governed by Section 9:2-4 of the state’s statutes, reflecting the state’s commitment to ensuring that minor children maintain frequent and meaningful contact with both parents, even in cases of separation or divorce. The legislative intent underscores the importance of encouraging shared parental responsibilities and fostering strong parent-child relationships.

In any legal proceeding concerning the custody of a minor child, it is crucial to understand that the rights of both parents are considered equal. The court, therefore, has the authority to issue an order that encompasses the following options:

Joint Custody

The court may grant joint custody – legal and physical custody – to both parents. This arrangement includes provisions for the child’s living arrangements, allowing them to reside either exclusively with one parent or alternately with each parent based on the parents’ and the child’s needs. Additionally, joint custody involves provisions for consultation between the parents regarding significant decisions concerning the child’s health, education, and general welfare.

Sole Custody

In certain cases, the court may award sole custody to one parent, accompanied by appropriate parenting time arrangements for the noncustodial parent.

Other Custody Arrangements

The court possesses the discretion to establish any custody arrangement that it deems to be in the best interests of the child. When making a custody determination, it must take into account various factors, including but not limited to the:

  • Parents’ Level of Cooperation;
  • Parents’ Willingness for Custody;
  • Child’s Relationships With Both Parents And Any Siblings;
  • Record of Domestic Violence a Parent Has, if applicable;
  • Child’s Safety;
  • Child’s Preferences;
  • Child’s Needs;
  • Stability of Each Home
  • Quality of Education Available;
  • Fitness of the Parents;
  • Proximity of Each Parent’s Residence;
  • Time Spent with Child Before and After the Separation;
  • Parents’ Responsibilities Associated With Employment;
  • Age and Number of Other Children Involved;

In all cases, the court’s paramount concern is the best interests of the child. Therefore, the court may deviate from an agreed-upon custody arrangement if it determines that such an arrangement does not align with that. It has the discretion to make custody decisions based on the unique circumstances of each case, ensuring that the child’s well-being remains the top priority.

Child custody laws, as well as their interpretation, can and do change. As such, consulting with legal professionals who regularly stay informed of the latest developments in child custody laws in New Jersey is key to your child custody case.

Eric Hannum, Esq.

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