When your romantic relationship ends, but you share a child with your former partner, you and your ex may need to come up with a plan for how you plan to raise your child moving forward. Unless you and your ex are able to agree on custody terms, you may need the state’s family court system to come up with an arrangement on your behalf.
Per the New Jersey Courts, unless extenuating circumstances exist, the state typically considers the rights of both parents and the child’s needs before making decisions about custody. When awarding custody, the court system may award one or more of the following four types.
Joint legal custody
If you and your ex share joint legal custody, this means each of you contributes equally when it comes to parenting your child. It also means you agree to share access to important information concerning your child.
Sole legal custody
If you or your ex secure sole legal custody, the individual who does so retains decision-making responsibility and does not need to confer with the other parent before making decisions about the child.
Primary residential custody
A parent who has primary residential custody has the child living with him or her the majority of the time. This means one parent has custody at least 51% of the time.
Shared residential custody
Shared residential custody means the child spends an equal amount of time living in the home of each parent.
In the event that one parent receives sole legal custody, the noncustodial parent has the option of pursuing parenting time with the child.