Family courts in New Jersey favor arrangements in which children will continue to benefit from loving relationships with both parents after a divorce. However, the judge will likely have several concerns to ensure the final child custody order protect the best interests of the child. These issues will likely be addressed at a child custody hearing.
It will be important to inform the court as to which type of custody is sought, and why. While joint custody is the preferable arrangement, sole custody will be considered if it can be shown that it would be in the best interest of the child. The court will consider any existing informal or formal child custody arrangement that was put in place for the period leading up to the divorce, whether it was workable, and what steps may be necessary to improve the existing parenting plans.
Furthermore, the court will consider the effectiveness of communication between the parents. This is because, in a joint custody arrangement, frequent communication between parents is necessary about child-related issues. The judge will want to determine whether both parents can play active roles in the lives of their children. The relationships between the children and both parents will also be considered.
One more aspect that plays a significant role in the judge's child custody decision involves the financial status and resources of the parents. The abilities of the parents to adequately provide for the children is crucial, and they will also play a role in any child support issues that might be determined at the same hearing. This could all be daunting for a divorcing parent, and the support and guidance of an experienced New Jersey family law attorney can be invaluable.