August 10, 2022
Tips for Navigating a Child Custody Case in New Jersey
One of the most challenging aspects of a separation and divorce to consider is child custody. When a relationship dissolves and there are children involved, custody becomes one of the most paramount conversations. Child custody laws in New Jersey are centered on what will be best for the child’s well-being, but this isn't an exact science. So, how is child custody determined? In several ways. Here are five tips for navigating a child custody case in New Jersey.
- Understand Legal vs. Physical
There are two custody factors to be aware of. Legal custody requires anyone with custody to be involved in big decisions regarding the child’s life. This includes medical care and education. Physical custody involves anyone with custody who is responsible for housing and caring for the child. Both forms of custody can be either joint; involving both parents, or sole; involving one parent.
- Get Along or Get Ready for Mediation
If parents can’t come to an agreement on their own the court will require mediation between them to determine what will be best for the child or children. In New Jersey child custody cases mediation will be used to try and come to a custody agreement. If that is not possible the case can go to trial which is a longer and more drawn out process.
- How Custody is Decided
Child custody is not an easy process, but there are factors that are considered when deciding which parent will receive legal custody. Which parent the child ends up with depends on a few key factors including:
- The ability of the parents to communicate with ease regarding matters of the child.
- The education of the child and maintaining consistency and quality in that regard.
- The interaction between the parent and child, as well as between any siblings.
- Any history of violence, specifically domestic violence.
- Know Your Kids
The easiest way to be successful in a custody case is to know your children and to be actively and positively involved in their lives. This will clearly benefit them as well as your case. Do what you can to be a good parent and not just for show. If the children must be evaluated the truth will come out, so better to be genuine in your efforts and always put them first ahead of any animosity.
- Good Counsel
A custody battle can be one of the more difficult aspects of a division. An attorney is an outside perspective, someone not directly impacted by the situation. They can advise you with a clear mind, something you may not be able to do for yourself under potentially emotional circumstances. But, choose your legal representation wisely. Find a lawyer with a listening ear as compassion matters as much as experience.
At the end of the day, child custody can be stressful. Being prepared and having good counsel provide you the best chance at a positive outcome. If you are in need of legal support for your divorce, or an experienced mediator, please don't hesitate to contact us. With over 50 years of experience in divorce and mediation, the team at Heymann and Fletcher is on your side.