There are many parents in New Jersey who are no longer in a relationship with the other parent of their children. It could be because they are divorced or they may have never been married and simply ended their relationship. However, just because they are no longer together does not mean that they are any less of parents. They must still continue to parent their children, but the dynamics of how that occurs will change.
Parenting responsibilities will no longer simply revolve around how the parents discuss and make decisions for their children. They will most likely have a child custody order, which will determine which parent has decision-making responsibilities and also when each parent will have the children in their care.
These are very important decisions and ones that can also be very complicated. If the parents are unable to agree on these issues, a judge will have to make them for the parents. When making child custody determinations, judges will analyze a number of factors to determine what is in the children’s best interest.
Factors used to determine the best interests of the children
These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The parents’ ability to cooperate and make decisions together
- The relationship of the children with the parents and their siblings
- Whether there has been any domestic abuse and the need to keep children safe from any abuse
- The child’s preference if they are old enough and mature enough to provide their input
- The needs of the children
- The stability of the homes and the children’s connection to schools and community
- How close the parents live to each other
- Each parents’ employment responsibilities
After analyzing these factors, judges in New Jersey will decide whether one parent will have sole custody or the parents will share joint custody of the children. The outcome will depend on the unique circumstances of the parents and children’s lives while they were all still together. Experienced attorneys understand the factors used to determine child custody and may be able to guide one through the process.