There are many concerns and unknowns that people have as they enter the divorce process in New Jersey. Their lives will go through many major changes and that can be scary. If the couple has minor children, their children will also be going through major changes.
As part of the divorce process parents need to make decisions about child custody and parenting time with their children. Parents can come to agreements on these issues, and ultimately they may be in the best position to know what would work best for them and their children. Each family has their own unique dynamics and they are the ones who have lived through it.
But that does not mean that all parents will actually be able to reach agreements on custody and parenting time. If parents cannot reach agreement, a judge will need to make the decisions for them. Courts do this based on the evidence presented to them in court. When making the decision, they will apply a number of factors to the evidence to determine what is in the best interests of the children.
Factors used to determine the best interests of the children
The factors they will analyze are:
- The parents’ ability to communicate with each other and make decisions about their children
- The children’s relationship with each parent and also their relationships with their siblings
- The preference of the children, if they are of a suitable age and maturity level to articulate what they believe is best for them
- The parents’ ability to provide for the needs of the children
- The children’s attachment to their current schools and community
- How much time each parent spent with the children and spent at work during the marriage
- Whether there was domestic abuse in the home
- How close the parents live to each other
Child custody determinations in New Jersey are not easy and need to be carefully analyzed. Each case is unique and fact-specific. How the factors stated above apply to each divorce will depend on those unique circumstances. It is important to understand these factors when going through the divorce process and experienced attorneys may be a useful resource.