How Child Custody is Determined in a New Jersey Divorce

When a couple with children divorces, child custody and support are two of the biggest issues that need to be worked out as part of their divorce settlement. In New Jersey, children are required to maintain contact with both parents following a divorce, unless there is a reason why one or both parents’ parental rights are terminated.

Many divorced couples split custody of their children following their divorce. This type of custody arrangement is known as a shared custody arrangement. When a couple has shared custody of their children, the court may determine the schedule that best fits the children’s needs. For example, the parents might alternate weeks with the children or, if this is not a viable option, the children might spend Monday through Friday with one parent every week, alternating between both parents’ homes each weekend.

The court determines their custody schedule by examining the family with a list of factors regarding each parent’s ability to provide for the child. The court makes this determination with the child’s best interest in mind.

Factors that Determine Child Custody

The court uses the following factors to develop a custody arrangement for a divorcing couple’s children:

  • The children’s education and its continuity in either household. Would it be too disruptive to the children to change school districts, or would changing schools give them access to a better education?

  • Does either parent have a history of domestic violence? Does any other member of either parent’s household have a history of domestic violence?

  • What is the child’s relationship with each parent? Would being with one parent over the other for a larger portion of the time be detrimental to the child?

  • What is each parent’s history with the court? Does either have a record of failing to cooperate with court orders or are they both compliant?

  • What does the child want? If the child is old enough to make rational decisions for him or herself, this decision may influence his or her custody arrangement. It cannot solely determine his or her custody, but it may be a factor.

In today’s world of dual-income households and changing gender norms, fathers are no longer every other weekend parents and are striving to have a shared custody arrangement with their children than they have been in the past. New Jersey’s courts do not consider a parent’s gender when determining custody – only his or her ability to provide and care for the child.

To learn more about child custody determination in New Jersey, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. today at 732-370-9596 to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm. We can answer any questions you have about child custody and related issues and provide you with high quality legal representation. We proudly serve clients in Middlesex, Burlington, Ocean, Monmouth, and Mercer counties.

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