Bayonne, NJ asked in Child Custody for New Jersey

Q: Is it required for a parent to be considered ‘primary’ in NJ if it is 50/50 custody and both parents are fit?

If both parents are in agreement to have mutual custody is it possible for neither to be deemed ‘primary’

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2 Lawyer Answers
Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: You NEED to sit down with a certified divorce lawyer to explain to you the legal significance of the terms used in a custody and parenting time agreement / order. Please do not think that you can simply read the document and understand the meaning of those terms - too many people who come in for a consultation ( too late) did exactly that and found out that they signed off on an agreement that they truly did not understand the terms being used.

If you and your ex have a share equal custodial plan where your child lives approximately equal time in both homes and the agreement states that your ex is the primary custodial parent, you should be concerned and you should meet with a "certified matrimonial trial lawyer by the New Jersey Supreme Court" immediately to discuss the legal significance of the terms and what changes you may want to the document and why.

Bari Weinberger
Bari Weinberger
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Parsippany, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Thank you for your question. In a situation like the one you described neither parent is required to be designated parent of primary residence but there are a variety of reasons why someone may want to be designated primary residential parent even if residential custody is 50/50. Do each of the parents live in the same school district? If not, where will the children go to school? Is child support being paid from one party to the other? All of these aspects, and more can have a bearing on giving you a definitive answer. To help you understand your rights and options, I strongly urge you to schedule an attorney consultation.

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