Most New Jersey family court judges prefer to award joint physical custody whenever possible. However, there might be times when they decide that giving one parent primary custody is better for the child. They may take several factors into consideration as they make their decision.
How does the judge determine primary custody?
Both parents are allowed to make their case in court. However, the judge makes the ultimate decision about where the child should stay. Typically, they’ll award primary custody to the parent who does most of the caregiving, ensuring that the child’s routine doesn’t change too drastically.
To figure out which parent has the most active role in caregiving, the judge might consider which parent takes the child to school, church, daycare, or doctor’s visits. They might look at other factors like house rules and discipline. For example, if one parent rarely disciplines the child, it suggests that they’re not the main caregiver. The judge might also consider which parent gets the child dressed in the morning, prepares their meals, helps them with schoolwork and takes care of other daily responsibilities.
If you and your former spouse share these responsibilities equally, the judge might rule in favor of joint physical custody. However, if one parent has more responsibilities than the others, it’s likely that the judge will grant them primary custody. If you want primary custody, it’s important to argue your case in court with the aid of an attorney. You’ll need to show the judge that you’re a responsible parent who provides a safe, loving home for your child.
What’s the best custody arrangement for your situation?
If you have a good relationship with your former spouse, joint custody might be the best option for everyone. However, you might feel that you can provide a better home environment for your child than your former spouse can. In some cases, you might even have evidence that shows that your former spouse is an abusive or neglectful parent. An attorney could help you figure out how to proceed to make sure your child ends up in a loving environment.