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Washington Township Child Custody Lawyer

Washington Township Child Custody Lawyer

Child custody refers to the arrangement for a child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual upbringing after his or her parents’ divorce. Child custody arrangements are also known as parenting plans. They are created by the court with the child’s best interest in mind. To determine the child’s best interest, the court uses a set of 12 factors to examine each parent’s fitness to nurture the child.

Child custody determination is only one part of the divorce process. If you are a parent going through the divorce process or considering filing for divorce, speak with an experienced divorce lawyer about what to expect from this part of the divorce process.

Elements of Child Custody

There are two types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the household in which the child resides and legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make substantial decisions on the child’s behalf, such as decisions about his or her healthcare or his or her education.

Parents may be awarded joint custody in either or both categories or one parent may be granted sole custody in either or both categories. For example, the court may determine that it is in the child’s best interest for one parent to have sole physical custody with the parents splitting legal custody. When a parent does not have any physical custody of a child, he or she may have parenting time, also known as visitation.

Factors Considered when Determining Child Custody

Although the court ultimately makes child custody determinations, individuals known as Friends of the Court provide the court with insight into each divorcing couple’s lifestyle using the following 12 factors:

  • The love, emotional ties, and affection that exists between the child and each parent;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide the child with love and support to grow academically and if applicable, through his or her religious training;
  • Each parent’s capacity to provide for the child financially;
  • The length of time the child has lived in his or her current household and whether it would be best for this living situation to continue;
  • The permanence of the family unit in each parent’s current or proposed household;
  • Each parent’s moral fitness to raise the child;
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  • If the child is deemed to be mature enough to make a rational decision about where to live, the child’s preference may be considered;
  • Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other and facilitate a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • Whether there is a history of domestic violence with either parent; and
  • Any other details the court deems to be necessary to a specific case, such as a child’s special needs.

Working with a Family Lawyer to Reach an Appropriate Child Custody Arrangement

During the process of determining a parenting plan for your child after your divorce, your lawyer can work to ensure that your rights and interests are considered. He or she can also help you prepare for each meeting that comprises this process, such as a deposition or a psychological evaluation. Your lawyer can also help you obtain and use relevant pieces of evidence to support your claims, such as documentation showing your involvement in your child’s academic life from your child’s school.

Work with a Washington Township Child Custody Lawyer

To discuss the child custody determination process in greater detail with a member of our team of Washington Township child custody lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C., contact our firm to schedule your initial legal consultation in our office.

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