Heymann & Fletcher

A strong relationship with children can protect custody rights

Few New Jersey parents spend a great deal of time thinking about their custody rights until they are faced with a divorce. At that point, there is little that can be done to strengthen their child custody position. In order to achieve a favorable outcome, it is necessary to take a proactive approach, even before there is any hint of marital instability. Fortunately, being proactive involves the same steps that one uses in promoting a strong relationship with children even when there is not a risk of divorce.

One of the most important things that parents can do to avoid a negative custody outcome is to remain closely connected with their children. It is easy to fall into a pattern where one parent takes on the bulk of childcare duties while the other works outside the home. While this may be a practical and effective arrangement, it often results in one parent having a much stronger bond with the kids than the other. That can pose a problem if the family eventually splits and a decision must be made regarding custody.

Another issue involves the risk of parental alienation. When one spouse is secretly contemplating a divorce, he or she may begin subtly influencing the children against the other spouse. This can occur through simply speaking ill of the other parent, or can be a more aggressive campaign of active alienation. The best way to protect against damage to the parent/child bond is by taking note of any changes in behavior that a child might display, and taking the time to talk things through with kids as issues arise.

By strengthening the parent/child bond, New Jersey parents can help create a better relationship with their kids. That is a positive outcome in all cases, even when the family remains intact. In cases where divorce is the eventual outcome, parents who have made an effort to build a strong relationship with children will find that they are in a good position in the event of a child custody fight.

Source: goodmenproject.com, "A Divorce Lawyer's Top Five Marriage Tips For Fathers", Babak Farzad, June 28, 2017

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