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Child Custody When Parties Reside in Different States


Going through a divorce can be incredibly stressful for both partners, but the parties that often suffer the most are the children involved. It can be extremely difficult to raise a child when both parents live apart in different states, especially when the child is relatively young.

However, there are custody arrangements that can ensure that children will have a positive relationship with both parents no matter how great the distance. In this article, we’re going to explain what those options are and how you can ensure that your child will grow up with both loving parents.


Types of custody

There are two main types of custody; legal and physical.

Legal custody gives a parent the right to make decisions regarding a child’s welfare. For example, they will handle schooling and medical issues. This means that if the parents live in different states but do have a good relationship and communicate on a regular basis, legal custody can be shared but it can be difficult in certain situations for the parent that lives further away.

Physical custody refers to the location where the child will live. Again, if both parents have a positive relationship then this can be split, but it’s most common to see the child living with one parent for a third of the year and the other parent for the remaining two-thirds. The most common arrangement for this is to have the child stay with one parent during the school year and the other parent whenever there’s a break such as during the summer or spring.

Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible to offer joint custody unless the marriage troubles have settled and the parents are able to have a cordial relationship. Judges typically do not enjoy sending a child all over the country, so it’s possible that physical custody may be transferred to a single parent if the judge feels it’s best for the child.


Knowing which state handles the case

Understanding where the custody battle will take place can be a complex matter because it’s often unclear what the conditions are. This will usually boil down to a few points:

?    Are there existing court orders?
?    Where does the child currently live?
?    Where did the child live before?
?    What state does the child have connections to?

These are the most common questions that will be asked and used to determine where the case will be handled. These are often handled in priority. For instance, if there are existing custody orders then they state they took place in will handle the custody battle. However, if there are none, then the home state of the child will be used. This often means that the child has lived there for the last six months. If the child has been moving around and has no home state then the court will consider which is best based on the child’s connections to each state.


Contact us today

Marriage trouble is never something that you look forward to dealing with as it often pulls children into the line of fire. If you’re planning to enter a custody battle in Bergen County, New Jersey, North Jersey or Paramus, then please get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can guide you on the best steps to take.

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