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New Jersey Child Custody Laws

New Jersey, along with all other U.S. states and the District of Columbia, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA), which helps prevent interstate child custody conflicts. In general, child custody laws dictate whether parents may seek joint custody, rules for visitation, and the procedures for ordering custody. According to New Jersey child custody laws, granparents may legally request visitation rights.

New Jersey courts consider a number of factors when determining child custody orders, but primarily consider the best interests of the child. If the parents are seeking joint custody, the court will examine their ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate with regard to the child. Also, any history of domestic violence will figure prominently in any custody decision.

Other factors considered when determining child custody in New Jersey may include (but are not limited to):

  • Interaction of the child with its parents and siblings
  • Preference of the child (if 12 or older)
  • Stability of the home environment
  • Fitness of parents
  • Parents' employment responsibilities

Child custody is a very serious matter. Sometimes parents are able to work out an amicable agreement that puts the child's needs first, but divorce proceedings often involve conflict. Therefore, it's always a good idea to hire a child custody attorney (or a divorce lawyer with child custody experience).

Learn more about New Jersey child custody laws in the following table, with links to additional sources. See FindLaw's Child Custody section for additional articles and more state-specific information.

Code Section §9:2-1 et seq.
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted 1979
Joint Custody an Option? Yes, §9: 2-4(a)
Types of Custody Available
  • Joint custody: child lives with one parent or alternates between parents, and parents work together when determining medical and educational decisions.
  • Sole custody: child lives with one parent and receives appropriate time with non-custodial parent.
  • Any other custody arrangement the court finds to be in the best interests of the child.   
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes, §9-2-7.1
Child's Own Wishes Considered? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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