Child custody can be the most challenging part of divorce for New Jersey parents. These proceedings, while scary, are oftentimes pretty straightforward. The court is just determining the best arrangement for your children.
How to best prepare
Sometimes you can discuss custody arrangements with your ex ahead of time, discussing what might work best for your family ahead of time. This should only be done if you have an amicable relationship with your ex or you’ve already committed to co-parenting.
Some parents might have to argue in child custody proceedings why they are the best fit for primary custody. If you’re stating your case before a judge, it’s important to prepare. You might ask yourself:
- Do I have proof of employment or a full-time job to support your child?
- Do you have easy childcare arrangements or a solution?
- Do you have a room and separate space for your children?
These are all questions that the judge might ask you in court. They will also judge how you present – so speak confidently and dress sharply.
You may be asked to bring character witnesses to talk about their experiences with the child and your relationship with them. These witnesses might even be asked who they think should get primary custody.
This will all take place in a small family courtroom setting. You – and all of your witnesses – will get a limited amount of time to make your case, so be concise when speaking. Your child may also be asked to speak to the court about their experiences with both parents.
Decisions happen immediately
The judge will usually issue a ruling immediately, which gives extra incentive to put a lot of time into preparation. The ruling will address which parent is the custodial parent and set up a visitation schedule with the non-custodial parent.
These decisions can be hard. Having the right preparation and being willing to work with your ex-spouse can make the process easier.