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What Judges Look For in New Jersey Child Custody Cases

how child custody is decidedPreparing for a child custody case can help you know what to expect. When a judge is in charge of assigning custody, they will consider the many factors that relate to the child’s safety and wellbeing. Their decision is usually based on the best interests of the child. While you cannot change this decision, you can evaluate what factors are considered. Continue reading to find out how child custody is decided in New Jersey.

Factors a Judge Considers in a Child Custody Case

You have likely heard that the judge will rule in the best interest of the child. But, what does this mean? How will the judge determine what is best for your child? They will consider a few important factors:

  • The age of the child: Depending on the age of the child, they may be able to express their desires. The judge will also consider a child’s age in deciding the best custody agreement. If the child is younger, they may offer primary custody to the parent who is, and has been, responsible for most of the caregiving duties.
  • Parenting ability: The judge will also consider the parenting abilities of both parents. This includes things like a parent’s financial abilities to provide food and shelter and their ability to provide them with companionship and emotional support. They will consider things like employment and living situation.
  • The child’s current schedule: The child’s current schedule may also make a difference in custody. The goal is to minimize the changes that a child has to experience. They will consider things like where the child currently goes to school, where their friends are located, and what activities they participate in.
  • Safety of the child: Perhaps one of the biggest things to consider is the child’s safety. They will consider where the child is likely to be the safest. If you are concerned about the safety of your child, it is important to provide the judge with documentation. If the child will be safe in both parent’s possession, joint custody may be determined.

The goal is usually to decide the best living situation and a consistent schedule for the child. Too much disruption in their life can be difficult and in many cases, the divorce and child custody battle can already be overwhelming to them. The judge may request evidence or data to support their decision.

How to Prepare for a Child Custody Case

While there is little that you can do to influence a judge to make a decision that you want, there are things that you can do to prepare for your case:

  • Put the child’s interests first
  • Keep your child’s schedule consistent
  • Contact a custody lawyer
  • Try to work with the other parent and compromise a schedule that works for everyone

Navigating a child custody case is never easy. Even if you do everything right, you may end up having to divide your time with your child. It is important to always consider the needs and wellbeing of the child when coming to an agreement. If you believe that any other living situation may be dangerous for your child, it is important to build a strong case.

A lawyer can help you determine your options. They can also help you prepare for, and then navigate your custody case.

Contact a Willingboro Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Your Child Custody Case in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at the Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC represent clients throughout the state, including Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, and Moorestown. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 912-5870 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at Strawbridge Professional Center of Moorestown, 212 W Route 38, Suite 440, Moorestown, NJ 08057.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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