In 1997, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was drafted and has been adopted by 49 states, including New Jersey. The goal of the UCCJEA is to prevent parents from relocating to a different state and immediately filing for custody making it difficult for the other parent to regain/maintain the custody agreement or order determined by the original state court. The UCCJEA provides specific rules on the state in which a parent can file for child custody.   Consult with an attorney at O’Malley Surman & Michelini before you file in court and find out you are in the wrong venue and have wasted not only your time, but money as well.

The 2 types of child custody in New Jersey are:

  1. Physical custody: which parent(s) the child primarily lives with
  2. Legal custody: which parent(s) is/are responsible for decision-making on behalf of the child

How Courts Determine Child Custody in New Jersey

New Jersey courts take into account a number of specific factors when determining child custody with the goal of determining what is in the best interest of the child, not the parent.  Consult with an attorney at O’Malley Surman & Michelini to insure your application is presented in the strongest light possible and addresses all of those factors.

New Jersey Child Custody Considerations

Other items to consider before heading into court are:

  • Parents are strongly encouraged to agree on a custody/visitation arrangement on their own, outside of the court system. Even judges encourage this once you are in the court system.
  • The courts favor joint custody whenever appropriate as research shows that having both parents involved in a child’s life is in the child’s best interest.

Have an attorney to assist you

Choosing the right attorney for your child custody situation is critical. Remember that during this journey you will need to be 100% comfortable sharing some of your most personal information with the attorney you choose.  Think about whether you would be more comfortable with a female or male attorney, how the other parent may respond to the attorney you choose, how aggressive you may or may not want your attorney to be during the process, and whether your attorney shares similar views and perspectives on child custody as you do.

Taking the time upfront to interview several attorneys can really pay off in the end.

At O’Malley, Surman and Michelini, our tagline, “We Counsel. We Care.”, focuses on our core principle of doing our best for our Clients. We treat each of our Clients with respect and will work with and for them throughout the legal process diligently and in their best interest.

If you are going through a divorce, are heading into or already have a custody dispute, or would like to consult with an attorney for any family court matter, please reach out to us for a free half-hour consultation.

Navigating family court can be stressful and intimidating. 

Contact O’Malley Surman & Michelini to assist you through the process with compassion and competence.  Call us today at 732-477-4200.