In recent years, there has been a growing focus on fathers’ rights in family law cases, and New Jersey is no exception. While traditionally, custody and visitation have been more likely to be awarded to mothers, this trend is changing as more and more fathers become involved in their children’s lives.
Here are some important things to know about father’s rights in New Jersey:
Legal and Physical Custody: In New Jersey, legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions about a child’s life, including education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. Courts in New Jersey generally favor joint legal custody arrangements, but physical custody is often more contentious. Fathers have the right to request joint physical custody or sole physical custody, and courts will consider a variety of factors when making custody decisions, including the child’s age and needs, the parents’ work schedules, and the quality of the parent-child relationship.
Parenting Time: Parenting time (also known as visitation) refers to the amount of time a non-custodial parent (often the father) spends with the child. In New Jersey, parenting time is generally determined based on the best interests of the child, taking into account the parents’ work schedules, the child’s school schedule, and any other relevant factors. Fathers have the right to request parenting time and to participate in decisions about their child’s upbringing.
Child Support: In New Jersey, both parents are obligated to support their child financially. The amount of child support is determined based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, which take into account each parent’s income and other relevant factors. Fathers have the right to request child support if they are the custodial parent, or to have their child support obligation calculated fairly if they are the non-custodial parent.
Paternity: If a child is born to unmarried parents in New Jersey, the father does not automatically have legal rights to the child. In order to establish paternity and gain legal rights, the father must either sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity or seek a court order establishing paternity. Once paternity is established, the father has the same rights and responsibilities as a married father.
Modification of Custody and Support Orders: Circumstances can change over time, and if a father’s situation changes significantly (such as a change in employment or relocation), he has the right to seek modification of custody and support orders. This can be done through a court hearing or by working out an agreement with the other parent.
Overall, fathers in New Jersey have the right to be involved in their children’s lives and to participate in decisions about their upbringing. If you are a father and have questions about your rights or are facing a family law issue, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.