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Somerset Child Custody Lawyers

Helping Parents Resolve Custody Matters in New Jersey

Fairly Dividing Custody Between ExesChild custody can be one of the most contested and highly emotional issues in a divorce. If you are concerned about protecting your rights to maintain or share the custody of your children, it is important that you consult with an attorney. At Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP, we work with parents across New Jersey in all types of child custody and parenting time matters. We are passionate about protecting our clients’ rights and ensuring a resolution that reflects the child’s best interests.

At Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP, we work with parents across New Jersey in all types of child custody and parenting time matters, including modifications and parental relocation. We are passionate about protecting our clients’ rights and ensuring a resolution that reflects the child’s best interests.

Contact us at (908) 356-7634 to schedule your initial consultation.

What Kinds of Custody Cases Can We Solve?

As a full-service family law firm, child custody cases make up a large portion of our practice. Our Somerset County child custody attorneys understand the state laws that govern these issues and know how to find effective solutions to even the most contentious disputes.

We routinely handle custody cases involving:

We Are Dedicated to Protecting the Interests of Children

When you work with our attorneys on a child custody or paternity case, you can trust that we will remain mindful of your children’s needs. In fact, our lawyers are trusted by New Jersey courts for our integrity and skill.

For example, attorneys Amy Zylman Shimalla, Amy Wechsler, Heidi Ann Lepp, and Michele D’Onofrio are often appointed by the court to serve as guardians ad litem and/or parenting coordinators. Our lawyers are also called upon to act as fact-finders for the court or to provide ongoing recommendations to the parties in difficult or high-conflict custody cases.

How Child Custody Is Determined in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, there are two different types of custody:

  • Legal custody - Determining the parents’ rights to make decisions regarding their child’s education, health care, religion, and general upbringing.
  • Residential or physical custody - Determining where the child will actually live and how much time a child spends in each parent’s home.

In New Jersey, there is a presumption that parties will have joint legal custody, thereby sharing in these decisions. The extent of parental involvement may vary, however. In unusual circumstances, sole legal custody may be warranted.

Ideally, a judge will want to choose an arrangement that encourages the child to maintain a close relationship with both parents. However, as each case will differ, there must be a variety of factors to examine before making that final decision. This must be done carefully, as the goal is to ensure the child lives a healthy, secure, and stable livelihood into adulthood.

Some of the most common factors to determine custody include:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s relationship to each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child
  • Any special needs the child might have
  • If a parent has had any problems with drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, or domestic violence
  • The need to continue providing stability in the child’s life
  • How well the child is currently thriving in his or her home environment
  • If the child is old enough, his or her personal preferences

What must also be considered is how the parents communicate with one another on critical decisions for raising the child. This is especially something that must be considered if parents are seeking joint custody. In cases where there is a history of domestic violence or drug or alcohol abuse in the home, as examples, this can negatively impact that parent’s ability to gain custody. In such a case, visitation can be greatly limited or may even need to be supervised for the protection of the child.

In presenting the facts and advocating for your position on the issues of custody and parenting time, your Somerset County child custody attorney is a critical asset to support your rights and protect the best interests of your children.

How Does Custody Mediation Work in NJ?

Our attorneys are experienced in mediation both privately and through a court-mandated program. Amy Zylman Shimalla and Amy Wechsler helped to create the custody mediation program that has been in effect in Somerset County since 1995. We are also experienced advocates in representing parties who participate in mediation to address custody issues. In all cases, whether we serve as mediators or as advocates, the best interests of the child are our first priority.

To discuss your child custody case with Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP, call (908) 356-7634 today.

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See What Our Clients Have To Say 
  • Heidi was consistently patient, transparent, dependable, professional and firm.

  • In reality, it is only results that count. I could not be happier with the outcome of my case.

    - Hank
  • She is a true professional, and she is very kind and patient.

    - KellyAnn

Our Values 

  • Experience

    Our firm’s attorneys have over 110 years of combined legal experience.

  • Focus

    Our firm focuses on Family Law and offers a full spectrum of services.

  • Results

    We focus on getting the best result for each of our clients.

  • Solutions

    We create tailored strategies & solutions based on client needs.