When New Jersey parents end up in a contested custody case, the decision will be made by the court. There are several factors that a judge will take into consideration.
What does everyone want?
When considering a child custody case, courts will ask each parent what their wishes are where their children are concerned. If the children are old enough, the court will also ask the children to share their preferences. While these factors will not determine the court’s decision, they can affect the outcome.
When considering custody cases, courts will also look towards the past. First, they might consider which parent has been the primary caretaker of the children, particularly if the other parent has a more challenging schedule that might prevent them from being there for the children consistently. The court will also investigate whether there have been allegations or a history of domestic violence, neglect or abuse by one parent. It will also consider if one parent has falsely accused the other of abuse in the past. Additionally, the court will look at the way each parent has supported the relationship with the other parent in the past.
The court will also look at factors related to the present. These include:
• The children’s ages and their corresponding physical, health, and care needs
• Each parent’s physical and emotional health as well as their capability for taking care of the children
• The relationship of each parent with the children
• Each parent’s financial situation and ability to meet their children’s financial needs
• Each parent’s home environment
• The possible effect on the children of any changes in a custody situation
The factors considered by the court all focus on the best interest of the child. Courts want to make sure that children continue to live and thrive in an emotionally stable, supportive environment.