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What Does Parent of Primary Residence Mean?

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Nov 22, 2021

What Does Parent of Primary Residence Mean?

Parent of Primary Residence

Did you know that there were more than 700,000 divorces in the U.S. in 2019? Child custody is often a concern in legal proceedings, and the primary residence is an important factor.

So what does primary residence mean in joint custody? Read on to learn more.

What Does Primary Residence Mean In Joint Custody?

The primary residence is the home where the child in joint custody spends most of their time. The parent who occupies that residence is the parent of the primary residence. The parent who occupies the other home is the parent of the alternative home.

There are special considerations for the primary residence, such as:

Primary Residence In 50/50 Custody 

When the parents have equal custody, the primary residence is where the child stays overnight while going to school. For children attending public schools, they must attend a school in the zone of their primary residence.

Primary Residence For Child Support Payments 

The parent of the primary residence receives child support payments from the alternative residence parent. The primary residence parent is responsible for maintaining communication with the alternative residence about any issues related to the child’s welfare.

State Laws For Joint Custody

As joint custody is tied with a primary residence, you should review the laws of your state, as these can vary greatly. For example, some states explicitly require equal parental time, with the only exception being sufficient evidence against one parent. Other states don’t have laws regarding joint custody, leaving it to the discretion of the individual family court judge.

In New Jersey, family courts typically prefer joint legal custody where both parents have input in the child’s major life decisions. That varies slightly from joint physical custody, which concerns the child’s living arrangements. Joint physical custody is the determining factor for the parent of the primary residence.

The parents should agree on physical and legal custody. Court intervention is pursued only when the two sides can not reach an agreement.

Types Of Divorce

Regardless of the divorce type, primary residence can be still be determined, but the impact on the child should be considered as well. These are the two types of divorces:

Contested Divorce 

When the two parties cannot resolve their disputes, the case goes to a judge. This method is often a last resort when other litigation measures have failed.

Collaborative Divorce  

This is the more preferred method for handling divorces. In a collaborative divorce, lawyers work with both partners to rebuild communication. Then, they sign a participation agreement and avoid going to court.

What To Do Now?

So the question of “what does primary residence mean in joint custody?” relates to several aspects of any divorce involving children. The type of custody and divorce could prevent the primary residence from becoming an issue. Feel free to contact Dalena & Bosch to learn more about the primary residence and any other family law matters you may have questions and concerns about.

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