As a parent facing a divorce, your main concern will be how the divorce will affect your children. How will they handle splitting their time between both parents? How much time will you be allowed to spend with your children? Will you have joint custody, and how will the New Jersey custody laws impact your situation?
Child custody in New Jersey
New Jersey Courts generally favor parents who share joint custody of their children, which means that they share physical and legal custody of their children. Physical custody refers to the time a child physically spends with each parent. Legal custody has to do with how parents make important decisions regarding their children, such as:
- What school their children will attend
- What medical care their children will receive
- What religion their children will practice
New Jersey favors parents who appear at a custody arrangement on their own. If you are seeking sole custody of your children but cannot attend the custody arrangement, your former spouse will likely still have some visitation rights.
Determining the best interests of the child
New Jersey Courts will consider the best interests of the child when ruling on child custody matters. Some of the factors involved in determining the best interests of the child include:
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- The age and gender of the child
- How custody will impact the child’s adjustments to school and the community
- Any special needs the child has and how the parent cares for those
- How stable each parent’s home environment is
- If the child has support from and interaction with extended family (such as grandparents) while in each parent’s custody
- If there is any evidence of parental drug or alcohol abuse
- If there is any evidence of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse of the child by any one parent
Getting help negotiating child custody
Your divorce attorney can help you negotiate your child custody arrangement. Your attorney can prepare you for a child custody hearing if you end up in a custody dispute.
In most situations, it will benefit your child to spend time with each parent and have each parent involved in their life. It will show them that their parents’ love and care for them hasn’t changed, despite the divorce.
THIS IS A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. FOR ANY LEGAL QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY.