Child Custody

Monmouth County Child Custody Lawyer

Legal Representation for Parenting Plans and Custody Arrangements in New Jersey

Child custody is often a client’s number one concern in a divorce. It is a highly emotional process for both parties, as well as for their child, and can lead to some of the most contentious disputes between parents. During child custody disputes, parents grapple with the potential that they may not see their child as frequently as before. 

Monmouth County child custody lawyer

Experienced Monmouth County family lawyers are trained in state laws concerning child custody and can help parents negotiate a child custody agreement without going to trial. However, a court trial is necessary when parents disagree on the terms of custody, in which case a skilled family lawyer can help secure your custody rights. Trials are costly and can require a significant amount of preparation and legal knowledge. Custody trials may also lengthen the divorce process by months or even years, subsequently prolonging the stress and emotional strain put on you and your child. 

Call us today at (732) 858-0282 to schedule an appointment or send us the details of your custody case using our online contact form. Our Monmouth County child custody attorney will help you determine your options and move forward.

Types of Child Custody Arrangements

New Jersey distinguishes between two distinct forms of child custody. 

  • 1. Legal Custody
    • Legal custody refers to a parent’s responsibility to make important decisions on behalf of their child, such as decisions concerning their health and education. Although both parents are typically recognized as legal custodians, legal custody can extend to only one parent when circumstances deem joint legal custody inappropriate. 
  • 2. Physical Custody
    • Physical custody is often the most contentious topic in a divorce. It encompasses where a child will live and how much time they will spend with each parent. 

There are three custody options in New Jersey:

  1. Joint custody
  2. Sole custody
  3. Other custody arrangements

None of these custody options are simple. 

  • Joint custody, which is common in New Jersey, can include many different living arrangements and residential schedules, as well as stipulations on how parents should consult one another to make decisions on behalf of their child. 
  • If one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent can still be granted visitation rights and other parental opportunities, which vary depending on the circumstances of the custody case. 
  • The final option, which is undefined, leaves room for any other physical custodial arrangement that the family court deems appropriate. 

How to File for Custody in NJ

Every custody case is unique, however, these are generally the steps to take to file for custody in New Jersey:

  1. You will need to familiarize yourself with NJ's custody laws and the different types of custody. 
    • Understand the custody laws in New Jersey, including the different types of custody and the factors the court considers when determining custody arrangements.
  2. Gather all of the necessary documents to ensure an efficient process. 
    • Collect important documents such as: 
      • The child's birth certificate
      • Any previous custody orders 
      • Any relevant medical or school records
  3. Determine the appropriate court to file with. 
    • Identify the appropriate family court in the county where the child resides. This is where you will file for custody.
  4. File the formal custody complaint with the court. 
    • Prepare and file a custody complaint with the court. The complaint should include details about yourself, the child, the other parent, and the desired custody arrangement.
  5. Serve the custody complaint to the other parent. 
    • Serve the custody complaint on the other parent according to the specific service requirements set by the court. Proper service is essential for legal compliance.
  6. Attend court hearings with your attorney. 
    • Attend any scheduled court hearings related to the custody case. Present your case, provide evidence supporting your request for custody, and address any concerns raised by the other parent or the court.
  7. Attempt mediation, if possible.  
    • In many New Jersey counties, mediation is required before proceeding to trial. Participate in the mediation process to attempt to reach a mutually agreed-upon custody arrangement.
  8. Present your evidence to support your case. 
    • If an agreement is not reached through mediation or negotiations, be prepared to present evidence to support your position regarding the child's best interests. This may include factors such as: 
      • The child's relationship with each parent
      • Their living arrangements
      • Their physical and emotional well-being

It's crucial to consult with an experienced Monmouth County child custody attorney. The  custody lawyers at The Family Law Offices Of Megan S. Murray can guide you through the custody process, explain the specific requirements, and advocate for your interests and the best interests of your child. 

Understanding Visitation Rights

When it comes to child custody arrangements, it's important to understand the concept of visitation rights. Visitation rights refer to the non-custodial parent's legal right to spend time with their child. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of visitation rights and ensure that your rights as a parent are protected.

Key points to consider about visitation rights include:

  • The importance of maintaining a strong parent-child relationship
  • The different types of visitation schedules, such as supervised visitation or virtual visitation
  • The factors that may impact visitation arrangements, such as the child's age and the parents' work schedules
  • The legal process for establishing or modifying visitation rights

At The Family Law Offices Of Megan S. Murray, we are dedicated to advocating for the best interests of you and your child. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your visitation rights.

Start discussing your child custody case today. Contact the Monmouth County child custody lawyer at The Family Law Offices of Megan S. Murray now. Call our law firm at (732) 858-0282.


What Happens When Parents Disagree About Custody Arrangements?

If parents disagree on the terms of legal and physical custody, the custody case goes to a trial, where a Monmouth County judge will make a decision that protects the best interests of the child. Judges weigh several factors when making custody decisions. 

How is Child Custody Determined in NJ?

Some of the factors that judges consider include: 

  • How parental responsibilities were divided in the marriage
  • The relationship you have with your child and how much quality time you normally spend with them
  • Where your child currently lives and attends school 
  • Where you will live following the divorce
  • Your employment status and income
  • Your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for your child
  • Any history of domestic abuse

As a result of these various factors, custody trials can be quite complex. Each parent may be expected to supply evidence demonstrating how they satisfy the criteria that judges consider for custody. In addition to providing legal representation, an experienced child custody attorney serving Monmouth County, NJ, can help you plan and organize evidence in preparation for trial. 

At What Age Can a Child Choose Custody? 

The preference of the child can also be an important factor, so long as the child is recognized to be mature enough to make an informed decision. This typically requires them to be at least 14 years old and capable of expressing an opinion.

Is NJ a 50/50 Custody State?

Yes, New Jersey is a 50/50 custody state. The law in New Jersey presumes that it is in the child's best interests for both parents to have equal physical custody. Therefore, the child should spend approximately equal time with each parent. 

However, the court will not order 50/50 custody in every case. Instead, the court will consider all the factors involved in making a custody decision, including the child's wishes, the parents' parenting abilities, and the child's best interests. 

The child's best interests are the most critical factor that the court will consider, including the child's age, the child's relationship with each parent, and the child's needs. 

If you are going through a custody battle, speaking with our child custody lawyer is crucial. Our custody lawyer in Monmouth County can help you understand New Jersey law and represent you in family court if necessary.

Contact Our Child Custody Lawyer in Monmouth County, New Jersey Today

Megan S. Murray is a detail-oriented family lawyer with years of experience in New Jersey family law and child custody. We understand what goes into child custody disputes, and we will work with you to understand your custody options. We are determined to provide you with personalized legal counsel and skilled legal representation to protect your parental rights and secure the best custody situation for your child.

Megan S. Murray is an award-winning child custody attorney in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Contact us today by calling (732) 858-0282 or send us a message using our online contact form.

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    Megan S. Murray

    "Megan S. Murray is the founder of The Family Law Offices of Megan S. Murray. Megan founded her practice with a singular goal in mind: to provide quality, hands-on services to her clients. Megan has earned a reputation among her peers, colleagues and clients as a zealous advocate of the highest integrity, who achieves the best results for her clients through an intimate knowledge of the unique facts of each case and extensive knowledge of the law."

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    Brian R. Murray

    "Brian R. Murray, Esq., of counsel to The Family Law Offices of Megan S. Murray, is a highly experienced New Jersey attorney whose practice areas have included civil litigation, real estate, complex insurance litigation, and family law."

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