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Navigating Child Custody in New Jersey: A Basic Guide

Are you facing the challenging process of seeking custody of a child in Monmouth County,New Jersey?

Understanding the basics can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that often accompanies such situations.

Here's a broad overview of the custody process in the Garden State:

  1. Understanding Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody:

    • Legal Custody: This pertains to the authority to make major decisions about the child's upbringing, including matters related to education, healthcare, and religion. Legal custody can be joint (shared by both parents) or sole (granted to one parent).
    • Physical Custody: This refers to where the child resides on a day-to-day basis. Like legal custody, physical custody can also be joint or sole.
  2. Filing for Custody:

    • To initiate the custody process, a parent typically files a custody petition with the family court in the county where the child resides.
    • In some cases, custody may be addressed as part of a divorce proceeding, while in others, it may be pursued independently.
  3. Factors Considered in Custody Determinations:

    • New Jersey family courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.
    • Factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, each parent's ability to provide a stable environment, the child's preferences (if they're old enough to express them...we're talking about older kids, not young children), and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse may be taken into account.
  4. Mediation and Custody Agreements:

    • Before going to court, parents may be required or encouraged to attend mediation to attempt to reach a mutually acceptable custody agreement.
    • If an agreement is reached, it will be submitted to the court for approval, making it legally enforceable.
  5. Court Hearings and Custody Orders:

    • If mediation is unsuccessful or not required, the custody dispute may proceed to a court hearing.
    • During the hearing, both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony supporting their desired custody arrangement.
    • The judge will then issue a custody order outlining the terms of legal and physical custody.
  6. Modification of Custody Orders:

    • Custody orders are not necessarily permanent and can be modified if there's a significant change in circumstances that warrants it.
    • Common reasons for seeking a modification include a parent's relocation, changes in the child's needs, or concerns about the child's safety.

Navigating child custody matters can be emotionally challenging, but with the right knowledge and a good, experienced lawyer, you can advocate effectively for your child's best interests.

Hiring an experienced Monmouth County family law attorney will provide invaluable support throughout the process.


If you are involved in a child custody dispute, the most important thing for you to do before doing anything else is to get a child custody "education".

undefinedI'll provide one to you online, at no cost.

I've been a divorce specialist in Colts Neck (by Delicious Orchards) for 36 years, and I've successfully represented thousands of people, many in contested custody cases.

I "get it" and I'm here to help.

My free NJ DIVORCE EDGE 2024 (click here) course will teach you how to turn your situation around to your advantage.

It's not just the best divorce education someone in Monmouth County can get.

It's also the best child custody education someone in Monmouth County can get.

Every case is different.

My emails will teach you, in an easy to understand way, everything that you need to know to help you make the right decisions based upon the particular facts of your situation.

I get emails from strangers all the time thanking me for making this information available to them online at no cost, and I'm pretty certain that you, too, will get a lot of value from my emails.

And if you want to stop the emails, I made it really easy for you to do that...

one click on any email stops the course.

But few people do that...

because the material is really helpful to anyone who is even just beginning to think about filing a child custody case here in Monmouth County.


Are you ready to start turning things around?

The next move is up to you...!

Click the link above and begin learning how to get the "edge" in YOUR Monmouth County custody case.

Until next time,

Steven J. Kaplan, Esq.

Specializing In Custody and
Divorce In Monmouth County

5 Professional Circle
Colts Neck, NJ. 07722

(732) 845-9010

 CLICK HERE To Learn About My Free NJ DIVORCE EDGE 2024 Course!