Factors used to determine best interest of the child

Creating a parenting plan that works for your family can be the hardest part of your divorce. Parents will have to make decisions relating to:

  • Where the child will live primarily
  • Parenting time
  • Holiday and summer schedules
  • Vacation time
  • Pick-ups and drop-offs (e.g. how the children will be transported from one parent’s home to the other)
  • How to divide up parental responsibilities and the authority to make decisions
  • How to resolve disputes that may arise

Determining the best interest of a child

If parents are unable to agree on the issues listed above, they may end up in court, where a judge will make the decisions for them. New Jersey courts will put the child’s best interests first when determining child custody arrangements. As the court determines custody, they will generally consider the following factors:

  • The age, education, and needs of the child
  • The stability of the living environment provided by each parent
  • The parents’ jobs and incomes
  • The parents’ ability and willingness to raise a child
  • The child-raising responsibilities each parent had prior to the divorce
  • The location of each parent’s residence and their proximity to each other
  • The parents’ ability to cooperate with each other for the benefit of the child

Courts are not limited by the factors listed in the statute when determining the best interests of a child. The court has the freedom to consider any factors it feels are relevant to the case to make sure the child is safe and well-supported in every way.

If you and your ex cannot seem to agree on anything, let alone child custody issues, a family law attorney can help. Your attorney will represent you, while making sure your child’s wellbeing remains the number one priority throughout the divorce process.

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