The involvement of children raises the stakes of an ordinary divorce just a little bit higher. Legal custody, physical custody, visitation and parenting schedules – it's a lot to take in and it is only natural to experience some confusion. Your attorney can give you the answers you're looking for, but sometimes you might not even know what to ask.
Don't let the court's child custody decision catch you by surprise. The questions and answers listed below will arm you with the information you need to show up to court confidently.
Four Answers to Your Child Custody Questions
Does the court give one parent preference over the other?
No. The court is expected to act in the best interests of the child. Depending on the age of the child, they may be allowed to give input on who they want to live with. The assumption that child custody is automatically awarded to the mother is archaic and almost all courts have done away with this practice.
What factors influence the court's ultimate decision?
The court considers things like the child's age, their relationship with both parents, the financial and emotional stability of each parent, where the child attends school, and the child's preferences if they are old enough. One parent's financial capabilities do not automatically mean that they will be given custody, particularly if it doesn't serve the best interests of the child.
Will I automatically be granted child support?
New Jersey does not always require either parent to pay child support. The court will review the details before making a final decision. If child support orders are required, both parents may have to contribute some form of payment.
Can parents make a custody arrangement on their own?
Yes! This is often encouraged by the court before any other action takes place. Many times, parents are able to work together to create a custody arrangement that is agreeable to both parties. This can work in favor of the child because parents usually know what is best for their child more than the court does.
If you are preparing to make your own child custody arrangements, don't hesitate to contact our firm. Our Monmouth County divorce attorney can represent you and help you reach the most favorable outcome.