According to statistics compiled by the CDC, the divorce and annulment rate in the U.S. (excluding California, Indiana, New Mexico, Hawaii and Minnesota) saw a gradual decrease between 2000 and 2018. However, divorces, while less frequent, have not died out completely.

Parents undergoing divorce have to consider child custody. There are many factors in play when developing child custody agreements. This, combined with the fact that laws vary by state, means that questions naturally arise. New Jersey has its share of common inquiries regarding child custody.

1. What kinds of custody are there in New Jersey?

New Jersey defines custody as legal or physical, both of which may be further specified as sole or joint. Legal custody refers to decision making. A parent awarded sole legal custody has the right to make major choices affecting his or her child/children without consulting the other parent. Joint legal custody means both have the right to make significant decisions. The state also allows parents to draft their own custody agreement.

2. Are parents allowed to take their children out of state?

If a parent wants to leave New Jersey with his or her child/children, then he or she has to meet certain criteria or face criminal consequences. He or she must possess permission courtesy of a court order, consent of the other parent or proof he or she is escaping from an imminent threat.

3. Does New Jersey favor the mother or the father?

Technically, New Jersey law views mothers and fathers on the same grounds when determining custody. This means they have the same parental rights legally. The law considers time with both parental figures equally important.

Parents need to cooperate to determine a plan acceptable to everyone involved, even if it means creating a new plan.