It is important for New Jersey parents to keep their children in mind during a divorce. It is easy for the kids to be in the middle of the case as the sides dispute over custody, parenting time, child support and more.
The court will take the child’s needs very seriously and this plays a prominent role in how it makes its decisions. It is important to have a basic understanding of the law in these circumstances.
Parents should know the factors the court will consider with child custody
“Best interests of the child” is often mentioned in the context of child custody. In general, this means that the child’s needs will be met; they will have a safe environment in which to live; they have sufficient medical and dental care; they receive a quality education; and there is a healthy and continuing relationship with both parents and extended family.
One factor in a “best interests of the child” analysis concerns how the parents will put their differences aside and focus on the child’s needs. The court will look at the parents’ ability to agree on various issues. It important for them to be able to make adjustments to their parenting plan without extended rancor that could negatively impact the child.
It will also need to know the parents are willing to accept a custody agreement and if past difficulties will resurface. The child’s safety is always paramount. If there were prior domestic abuse incidents, the court can factor that in when it decides on child custody. Children who are deemed to be of sufficient age and maturity can have a say as to where they will live. This is on a case by case basis.
The distance between the parents can be considered. So too will the court look at the time the child spent with the parents after they separated. The parents’ employment and personal responsibilities are key as are the number of children they have from this relationship or others.
Divorcing parents should not forget the importance of legal assistance
Child custody is rarely a simple matter and the parents need to be cognizant of how the court will decide. In some cases, the parents are on good terms despite the divorce and their post-divorce relationship is not a problem. In others, they can agree to put the child’s interests first. Some are more complicated.
Regardless of the circumstances, parents need to think about the child and how the court assesses the case. Having comprehensive help and guidance throughout the process can avoid pitfalls and assist in forging a workable outcome that both sides can accept while protecting the child.