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In your divorce proceedings, you and your former spouse will plead separate cases for your desired child custody arrangement. However, given that the final decision on this matter directly impacts your child, you may wonder whether they have any say in this. Follow along to find out whether your child can share their preference toward the court’s determinations and how a proficient Morristown child custody lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help work on their case.

Can my child share their preference toward the court’s custody determinations?

Simply put, at its discretion, the New Jersey family court may listen to your child’s preference for a custody arrangement or parenting schedule. Meaning that the court may only deem your child’s opinion a reasonable consideration if they are over the age of 12. In addition, the court must regard your child as emotionally mature enough to have a sound, intellectual stance on the matter.

In the end, though, the court’s final child custody decree is primarily based on the best interests standard. With this, the court must rule on an arrangement that ensures the child’s safety and overall well-being. This means that factors such as your and your former spouse’s physical, mental, and emotional capacity to care for your child and ability to provide a stable home environment take precedence, among other things.

More often than not, the court believes maintaining a relationship with both parents works in your child’s best interest. This is to say that joint custody is the most popular custody arrangement seen throughout the state. The only exception is if the court finds one parent to be unfit for effectively and safely caring for the child (i.e., history of substance abuse, history of domestic violence, history of abandonment or neglect, etc).

Under what circumstances does the court not make custody determinations?

Usually, child custody is the most hotly contested matter in divorce proceedings. However, you may not have to worry about settling this divorce-related term under certain circumstances.

For example, a child custody determination is unnecessary if your child has already reached the legal age of 18. The same applies if your child has legally emancipated themselves before the age of 18. This is when your child may have full reign to choose which parent to primarily or solely live with, if not already living on their own. At the same time, this may rule out the necessity of having to settle on a child support arrangement.

In conclusion, you must do some reflection to fully understand the gravity of the situation at hand. Once you do, you must drop everything and reach out to a talented Morristown family law attorney at Graves Andrews, LLC. We look forward to working with you and your child.