If you are a father who is getting a divorce, there is a strong chance you will have to fight for custody of your child. While these terms are often sorted out via some sort of marital agreement, the unfortunate truth is that they usually are not. When couples have a contested divorce, meaning both parties cannot agree on the terms on their own, their divorce will very often enter into the litigation process. Here, a couple may see their assets, and, more importantly, their rights to legal custody of their child rearranged. Though the courts are supposed to make child custody decisions based solely on a parent’s gender, only around 17% of parents with physical custody are men, which goes to show what the courts think about paternal relationships. If you wish to secure custody of your child, here are some of the questions you may have regarding your legal options going forward:

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Generally, as a father, you will make your primary concern obtaining legal custody, or at least a shared legal custody. By obtaining legal custody of your child, you are in control of major life decisions. Such as your child’s education, religion, extracurricular activities, medical care, and more. Physical custody, on the other hand, pertains to where your child will physically live. For example, if you are granted full physical custody of your child, he or she will live with you most of the time. Generally, courts will not grant a parent sole custody of their child unless the other parent has proven him or herself parentally unfit.

How will the courts determine who gets child custody?

The courts will consider several factors when determining your child custody agreement, including, though not limited to:

  • The bond between you and your child
  • Your history with the child, and whether or not you pose any sort of a risk to your child
  • Your good faith
  • The time that has passed since the last contact with your child
  • The impact of these rights on the relationship between you and your child
  • The relationship between you and your former spouse
  • Ultimately, the court will determine child custody based upon what it feels is the most positive situation for your child

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC is a family and divorce law firm serving Monmouth County and all of New Jersey that would be happy to assist you in legal counsel. We understand how serious and potentially impactful divorce and family issues can be, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing our clients with compassionate and knowledgeable legal advice and action. If you need quality legal services, please do not hesitate to contact the firm for a consultation.