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How Does Substance Abuse Affect Child Custody in New Jersey?

Child custody is often the most important issue for divorcing parents. Unfortunately, child custody matters become extremely complicated when one spouse has a substance abuse issue. Please continue reading and reach out to our experienced New Jersey family law attorney to learn more about substance abuse issues and child custody in New Jersey.

What Are the Two Different Types of Child Custody?

There are two primary types of child custody in New Jersey: physical custody and legal custody. Essentially, physical custody deals with where a child lives, and legal custody gives a parent the legal authority to make certain key decisions on behalf of his or her child. Legal custody allows parents to make a wide array of decisions, including where the child goes to school, what religion the child practices, and the types of medical care the child can receive. Of course, physical custody is important, however, we encourage parents to fight for legal custody, at the very least.

How Do New Jersey Courts Determine Child Custody?

The primary determining factor when it comes to child custody in New Jersey is the child’s best interest. That being said, while New Jersey courts would like to split physical and legal custody evenly between parents, if they determine that it is not in the best interest of the child, they will not do so. New Jersey courts consider a wide array of factors when determining child custody, including the following:

  • The bond you have with your child

  • Whether your child has any special needs

  • Whether you can financially support your child

  • Whether you can emotionally support your child

  • Whether you live in close proximity to your child’s other parent

  • If your child is old or mature enough, whether he or she has a preference

  • Whether you can provide a safe, stable environment for your child

This last point is critically important. If the courts believe you have a substance abuse issue, or your former spouse alleges that you have a substance abuse issue, it will most likely drastically affect your ability to retain child custody. That is why it is so critical you hire an experienced New Jersey family law attorney who can work to ensure that you show the courts either that you do not have a substance abuse issue, or, if you do have such an issue, that you are doing everything in your power to correct it, such as going to rehab or receiving treatment.

Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Firm

Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 25 years. That is why we are confident we have what it takes to provide you with the effective legal counsel you need. If you need experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.