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Co-Parenting in New Jersey: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Custody Laws in New Jersey

New Jersey maintains many child-custody laws and regulations for divorcing or otherwise separating parents. According to the laws of the state, there are several different types of custody which may be awarded to one parent or to both. Depending on the circumstances, one parent may be granted legal custody, physical custody, or a combination of both. Legal custody grants the parent decision-making power regarding their child's upbringing, health, education, and general welfare. Conversely, physical custody is essentially physical control of the child and their residence, so their parent(s) can ensure their safety and well-being throughout the duration of their childhood. As such, in a co-parenting situation, custody should be shared cooperatively to ensure that the best interests of the child are always being represented.


Child Support in New Jersey

New Jersey law states that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children during and following a divorce or separation. According to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) and N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1(a), when determining the amount of child support to be ordered, the court looks at several different factors. These include each individual parent’s income, the amount of time that each parent spends caring for the child, any existing support or alimony orders or agreements that are in effect, and the overall financial situation of both parents. If a co-parenting situation is established, both parents will likely share responsibility for the costs associated with raising the child.


New Jersey Co-Parenting Expenses

When two parents have joint physical and legal custody of a child, they must share the responsibility of financially supporting that child. This responsibility can include a variety of costs, such as tuition, medical bills, dental bills, extracurricular activities, and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise throughout the course of co-parenting. According to the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. 10:82-4.6) the court may require each parent to contribute a certain amount of money for the child’s medical and educational expenses if necessary. Co-parents must also agree on who will be responsible for any additional costs that may arise, such as meeting the child’s day-to-day needs.


New Jersey Co-parenting Rights and Decisions

When co-parenting in New Jersey, both parties must be aware of the rights and decisions that accompany the arrangement. With regards to rights, the New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.A. 9:1-1) grant parents the right to make decisions regarding the care and welfare of their children, as well as the right to petition the court for modifications to any existing agreements, such as a parenting plan. Furthermore, each parent also has the right to access their child's health records and any other important documents on their behalf.


In terms of decisions, both parents must agree on several issues, such as when the child is allowed to use the Internet, when video games are acceptable, and who will be the primary disciplinarian if issues arise. In addition, both parents should also take into consideration the child's interests and individual circumstances when making decisions, as their welfare should be the top priority.


New Jersey Parenting Plan

The parenting plan, also known as a custody and visitation agreement, outlines all of the rights and responsibilities of each parent during the course of the co-parenting arrangement. The parenting plan is always centered on the best interests of the child and can include a variety of provisions, such as the designation of primary physical and legal custody, the times, dates, and methods of visitation, and the allocation of parental decision-making authority. In addition, the parenting plan should also address any potential issues that may arise in the co-parenting relationship, such as unresolved disputes concerning the child.


New Jersey Visitation Rights

The New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21) grant both parents the right to reasonable visitation privileges with the child. The court will ultimately decide the frequency, duration, and methods of visitation, unless both parties are able to come to an agreement outside of court. Visitation rights will often be outlined in the parenting plan, but can also be modified if the court deems it necessary to protect the child’s best interests


New Jersey Mediation

New Jersey law also encourages both parties to pursue mediation when co-parenting disagreements arise. According to the New Jersey Statutes (N.J.S.A. 2A:34-69B), the court may order parties to attend mediation when particular disagreements are outstanding. Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party meets with both parties in order to help them negotiate and come to an agreement on the dispute. The mediator is not a decision-maker, but instead works to facilitate communication between parties in order to ensure that the outcome is mutually beneficial.



Co-parenting in New Jersey requires that both parents be familiar with the laws surrounding custodial and financial support, as well as the parenting plan, visitation consent order, and other relevant legal documents. This article provides an overview of co-parenting in New Jersey, as well as descriptions of custody, child support, co-parenting expenses, parental rights, decisions, the parenting plan, visitation rights, and mediation. By understanding these elements, parents are better able to ensure that their child's best interests are always prioritized.


Fact Check and Resources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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