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Generally speaking, a custody matter commences when a party files a custody application with the court. This is mostly seen in matters wherein two people had a child, but they never married and are no longer in a relationship together. In that case, either party is able to file an application with the court so that they can eventually obtain a court-ordered parenting plan.  This also usually addresses child support and related expenses.

When two people are married and share at least one child, they can also file a custody application.  However, the difference for married people is that if they only file for a custody application, they remain married, and no assets can be divided.  This usually happens when parties try a “trial separation” and things go awry, so they need court intervention. This may also happen if two married people decide to just live separately going forward, but not divorce.

The difference between a custody application and a divorce is that the custody application can only address a parenting plan, child support and child-related expenses.  Not only can no assets be addressed, but the most common question that we receive is whether or not the court has jurisdiction over a house shared by the two parties.  If two parties are unmarried and own a house together as joint tenants in common, the family court will have no jurisdiction over that.  Even if the child lives in the house, the Court says that it is separate and apart from a custody matter.  Therefore, if a house or any assets need to be addressed, if the parties are married, they must file for divorce.  If the parties are not married, they usually have to pursue those matters in either family court, small claims court or civil court depending on the specific asset and size of such.

Our firm is here to help make things easier for you, so that you can take back control of your life. Ever argue with a woman? Let Wolf & Shore Law Group go to work for you and take the “big and bad” out of your family law matter so that it becomes a “Shore thing.” Please contact us today for a confidential consultation. Click here, call us at 203.745.315, or email us at

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