DiLorenzo & Rush | Counselors of Law
Stepping Up & Standing Out

What factors will the court weigh when deciding on child custody?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Family Law

Any New Jersey divorce will have its difficult issues that must be sorted through. People will want to reach the best possible outcome for their future. However, when children are involved, it adds several layers of complexity to the case.

The parents will want to ensure the child is cared for in a nurturing environment. Part of that is encouraging a relationship with both parents, provided it is safe. Still, disagreements are common and people need to understand how the court sifts through the evidence and makes its decision.

Know the factors the court considers with child custody

Regardless of whether the court decides on joint custody or sole custody, the primary objective is to serve the child’s best interests. Preconceived notions such as the mother “always” getting custody or other misplaced beliefs should be ignored as the case proceeds. Still, the court does have specific factors that it focuses on when assessing the situation to come to its conclusions.

The parents’ relationship is of primary importance. Specifically, the court will need to know that they can put lingering differences or outright hard feelings from the breakdown of the marriage aside and work together for the child. In instances where the parents’ relationship is friendly, this is not a problem. For cases where it is not, the court must make certain they can focus on the child. That includes communication and cooperation.

Of course, in circumstances where there are allegations of abuse, the court will investigate them to determine their veracity. If accurate, then a parent can seek to refuse parenting time or another arrangement – such as supervised visitation – can be considered.

The child is not without rights in these cases. If they are deemed of sufficient age and maturity to state a preference, the court can agree to hear them out when making a custody and parenting time determination. Other aspects the court will look at are siblings, extended family, the distance between the parents’ residences, how much time the parents can spend with the child due to work and other responsibilities, and if there are extenuating circumstances.

Determining child custody is a complex process

Child custody can be complicated. As parents move forward in the case, it is imperative that they remember that the child’s needs must come to the forefront. Part of that might include being flexible independent of negative feelings from the marriage.

Knowing how the court will analyze the child’s needs and what the parents are able to provide to serve those needs is vital. To avoid letting emotions negatively impact a case and hinder reaching an acceptable result, it is wise to be fully cognizant of how the process works.