Non-traditional families make up more than 50 percent of American homes. Often, children grow up in loving family homes where one or more of their parents or guardians is not a biological parent. In some cases, these non-biological parents may be considered psychological parents, which can in turn entitle those individuals to the legal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by New Jersey parents. There is a formal process by which psychological parents may become legal parents which most frequently is part of a larger child custody legal proceeding.
The psychological parentage attorneys of Jacobs Berger have extensive experience seeking full legal parentage for clients across Morris County towns and all of Northern New Jersey. We understand that the family law legal process requires creative, dynamic legal solutions which will address the unique needs and concerns of our clients and their families. Our law firm rejects the one-size-fits-all legal services of larger firms. To this end, we strive to keep our clients as involved as possible throughout the custody process.
Call our office today for more information regarding your potential for legal parentage as a psychological parent in a comprehensive and confidential Strategic Planning Session.
Psychological Parentage Lawyers Define “Psychological Parent” in New Jersey
It is common for New Jersey children to live at home well into their twenties. Child support laws reflect this, allowing agreements to extend to children’s 23rd birthday. For parents, this means that they will be responsible for childcare for about two decades per child. During this time, many families will go through divorce, re-marriage, new relationships, or moving out of state, just to name a few. Quite frequently, non-biological parents take up a role as a “psychological parent” during this time.
Psychological parents are individuals who take on the full responsibilities of parenting despite not being a biological or adoptive mother or father. The state of New Jersey recognizes these actions and may provide psychological parents similar legal rights to child custody and parenting time. In many other states, this legal concept is known as de facto parentage.
Non-Biological Parents’ Rights Attorneys Help Clients Become Legal Parents
In the case where a non-biological or adoptive parent seeks legal rights, our Denville psychological parentage attorneys will seek to prove the following:
- The biological or adoptive parent consented to, and fostered, the would-be parent’s establishment of the parent-like relationship with the child
- The child resided with the would-be parent
- The would-be parent assumed the obligations of parenthood including but not limited to childcare, education, financial contributions, etc.
- The would-be parent has been in a parental role for a length of time sufficient to have established with the child a bonded, dependent relationship parental in nature
While psychological parentage is primarily granted where there is only one biological parent in the picture, there is legal precedence for granting legal psychological parentage to a “third” parent. This issue has had precedent setting cases as recently as 2016, and the regulations are expected to grow and adapt as non-traditional families are more widely recognized by the legal community.
What Rights will I Receive After Being Granted Legal Parentage?
After a psychological parent earns legal status in NJ, he or she will be considered equal to any biological or adoptive parents when it comes to child custody. During child custody proceedings, all legal parents will have the same opportunity to seek child custody and parenting time. However, some other legal rights may still be limited depending on the nature of your circumstances.
It is important to understand that being deemed a psychological parent does not automatically entitle you to child custody or parenting time, but it does allow you the legal right to be awarded custody or parenting time.
New Jersey Family Courts consider issues of child custody and child support based on the best interests of the child in question. Common factors which may determine the terms of your child custody agreement may include:
- Relationship between each child and co-parent
- Ability of co-parents to communicate openly, coordinate schedules, etc.
- Financial situation of each co-parent
- Ability of each co-parent to provide a safe and secure home for the child
- Ability of each co-parent to care for any special needs of the child
- Much more
Contact our Psychological Parents’ Rights Lawyers Today
At Jacobs Berger, our psychological parents’ rights lawyers take pride in serving parents in local Morris County communities such as Morristown, Madison, Randolph, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Rockaway, and all of Northern New Jersey. Our firm is built on the belief that divorce and family law disputes can and should be resolved amicably without potentially damaging litigation when possible. However, our team of qualified matrimonial law attorneys will not hesitate to aggressively defend our clients’ legal rights. We view every case we take as an opportunity to provide our clients with a blueprint for their family’s future.
To speak with one of our experienced psychological parentage attorneys in a confidential and comprehensive Strategic Planning Session, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ offices by calling (973) 354-4574 today.