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Two Sides of the Child Custody Story

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Nov 1, 2019

Two Sides of the Child Custody Story

“There are two sides to every story.” It’s a warning we take seriously in the divorce business, where both partners have their own opinion about who is responsible for the break-up.

It’s also something we tell our clients when it is time to start negotiating a child custody agreement. Under New Jersey law, there are two sides to the child custody story — you will need to make the case that you deserve both physical custody and legal custody of your children.

Physical Custody

When most people hear the words “child custody,” what they are thinking about is physical custody. A parent who is awarded physical custody of their child gets to spend time with that child.

At Dalena & Bosch, we help our clients advocate for a physical custody agreement that is in the best interest of the child from our client’s perspective. However, we understand that in most cases both parents love their children and want to have them physically near as much as possible. Some sort of agreement must be struck.

Legal Custody

The other side of the child custody story is what is known as legal custody. If you have legal custody of your children you have the legal right to parent them, even when they are not in your physical custody.

Legal custody involves making decisions about your child’s upbringing. Will they go to private school? Are they allowed to sleep over at an extended family member’s home? Do you want your child to get specific religious training, or be exposed to cultural events that will educate them about your shared heritage? These decisions are all tied to legal custody.

Most parents have joint legal custody, but there are circumstances where this is not appropriate.

Negotiating a Custody Agreement

At Dalena & Bosch, we prefer to help couples negotiate a child custody agreement without airing your family’s dirty laundry. Rehashing every questionable parenting decision you and your ex ever made rarely helps resolve your case.

We push for negotiation, but when that doesn’t work we head to court. New Jersey judges apply a best interest of the child test to determine who a child’s primary caregiver should be, and how often other adults in the child’s life should have access to the child or be involved in important child rearing decisions.

Rather than getting into emotionally fraught disputes over who loves who the most, we focus on gathering concrete evidence a judge can use to make a decision that will truly be in your child’s best interest.

Once custody is decided, the courts use a formula to calculate child support obligations.

Holding Your Hand When You Need It Most

If you are contemplating divorce, but are worried about what will happen to your children, we are here to help. Our firm’s motto, “Holding your hand when you need it most,” is something we take seriously. We are ready to take your hand and guide you before, during, and after your divorce. Contact us today if you want to chat.

Elizabeth Dalena helped me through a very difficult divorce and I felt working with her was like working with a friend you can trust! Beth, thank you for your professionalism and helping me through this difficult time.
Michael Mastrogiacomo - March 2020
If you’ve been searching for an honest and empathetic attorney...someone you can trust while you navigate the difficult and emotional world of family law, then do yourself a favor and contact Beth Dalena & Jessica Bosch. You’ll be so glad you did.
Par 5 Consulting - March 2020
When you are in the painful and often frightening process of divorce, the women of this law firm bring you confidence and security with their knowledge and professionalism. They exhibit that rare combination of the willingness to hold your hand like a compassionate friend and defend you like a piranha in the courtroom when necessary. They exhibit dedication, and the grace and wisdom of their long term experience. They look…
Cindy Morhouse - February 2020
These ladies have helped me several times in my experience with them. Jessica was my divorce attorney and I can say without hesitation, she was professionally and personally a gift to me. She handled my case (adversarial at best) with grace and knowledge. A fighter when necessary. She handled me in my personal state as a friend. Compassionate and kind. Beth assisted me with rewriting my deed after my divorce…
Scarlett O - January 2020
I chose Jessica A. Bosch to represent me because she was compassionate and knowledgeable. My divorce was a long and difficult journey. During this time, I lost sight of what was really important. Jessica kept me grounded and focused on what would be best for me after the divorce. I am grateful for her help in protecting two very important financial things that I might have given up. I didn't…
Cynthia R - December 2019