A New Jersey judge will likely look at a variety of factors when crafting a child custody order. The goal is to ensure the final decision is in the child’s best interest. If the parents themselves come up with a custody plan, it will need to be approved by the court before it goes into effect.
A child’s age will play a role in how parenting time is allocated
In general, a younger child will be placed in the care of his or her primary caregiver. This is because the child tends to have a stronger bond with this person. Furthermore, the primary caregiver may be best suited to provide the significant level of supervision that a baby or toddler requires. In some cases, older children and teenagers will be given the opportunity to provide input into who they stay with.
You’ll need to prove that you’re competent
If you’re seeking custody, it’s important to prove that you’re capable of providing everything that your son or daughter will likely need. Generally speaking, you’ll be responsible for providing food, clothing and shelter for your child. You’ll also be responsible for offering emotional support and guidance as your son or daughter grows up. In some cases, a judge will consider your physical and mental fitness when determining if you should be granted custody rights.
Children need consistency
Children tend to do better when they’re allowed to maintain a consistent daily routine. Therefore, you may increase your chances of gaining custody if you can show that doing so won’t force your son or daughter to change schools or lose access to extended family members. You’ll also need to convince a judge that your son or daughter will be safe while in your care.
If you have questions about how a divorce might impact existing relationships with your children, reach out to an attorney. In general, parents are allowed to take an active role in their children’s lives after a marriage ends unless doing so isn’t in the child’s interest.