Often times, New Jersey child custody is viewed as a battle. A grueling, painstaking battle between mother and father. A battle where one will come out victorious. After all, what’s a battle without a winner? But is that really how New Jersey child custody should be viewed—as a battle? And if there’s a winner at all, shouldn’t it be the child? It seems as though parents, amidst the dark days of divorce, lose sight of what’s “in the best interest of the child.” So, let’s take a timeout and examine New Jersey child custody in a positive light, one where the child’s best interest is actually the primary consideration.
While divorce in New Jersey has the potential to be an unpleasant and emotionally challenging experience, it can also be amicable. People divorce for all different reasons. Whatever the situation may be, petty grievances need to be put aside in order for a level-headed, mature decision to be reached regarding your child. New Jersey child custody should be considered from the viewpoint of the child, not the adults.
While most individuals like to think they know what’s best for their kids, sometimes a little guidance is needed. This is where a New Jersey divorce lawyer and New Jersey child custody laws can be of assistance. Over the years, New Jersey child custody laws have been amended to fit the best interests of the child.
Based on the New Jersey Divorce Statute, the following factors may be considered for New Jersey child custody:
• The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child.
• The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse.
• The interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings.
• The history of domestic violence, if any; the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent.
• The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision.
• The needs of the child.
• The stability of the home environment offered.
• The quality and continuity of the child’s education.
• The fitness of the parents.
• The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes.
• The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation.
• The parents’ employment responsibilities.
• The age and number of the children. A parent shall not be deemed unfit unless the parents’ conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child.
At the end of the day, New Jersey divorce lawyers and the courts, in general, are going to look for what’s in the child’s best interest. As an adult, regardless of your marital situation, you should do the same. However, it is advisable to always seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey family law and divorce lawyer. By staying proactive and level-headed, you will be able to reach a child custody arrangement where your child will continue to grow into a healthy adult.