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.
Child-related decisions in family courts nationwide, including New Jersey are based on the best interests of the child. Judges look at various factors when they consider child custody arrangements. The first consideration will be the mental and physical health of the parent seeking custody, along with his or her ability to meet the child's emotional and physical needs. Included are shelter, food, clothing, education and medical care -- to be provided with loving care, support and parental guidance.
Statistics show that grandparents in New Jersey and other states take care of as many as one in every ten children. This could be a significant challenge to grandparents who have not taken steps to formalize their statuses as care providers. Several legal options are available, including adoption and petitioning the court for child custody or guardianship. The latter is said to give the grandparents the legal rights they need to care for the child without going through the adoption process.
More and more people nationwide, including in New Jersey, choose not to marry. A significant percentage of children are born out of wedlock, and while many couples parent those children in the same way that married parents would do, there are cases in which there are absent fathers. If a child is born and the birth certificate indicates no father, the mother might have questions about her legal child custody rights.
Divorce is typically an unpleasant, and usually a traumatic experience for all concerned, even more so if there are children involved. Courts nationwide, including New Jersey, base child custody decisions on the best interests of the children, and negotiating agreements with that in mind is often an emotional and time-consuming process. Former power couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally came to a child custody agreement after two years of litigation.