In your divorce, the outcome that is likely the most important to you is your child custody agreement. You are likely fighting for an agreement that keeps your child’s well-being as the top priority. But ultimately, the New Jersey family court will look at a range of factors before landing on a decision. Continue reading to learn what circumstances influence a child custody decision and how an experienced Morristown child custody lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can stand by your side throughout.
What circumstances will influence a child custody decision?
Similar to you, the New Jersey family court is looking out for your child’s best interest. Most times, they will determine that is in your child’s best interest to maintain their bond with both parents. Meaning, they will usually make a joint custody decision.
Other times, the court may determine that one parent is parentally unfit, and therefore should not be granted joint custody rights. Examples of what they may view as parental unfitness include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A parent has a history of substance abuse.
- A parent has a history of domestic violence.
- A parent has a history of institutionalization.
- A parent has a history of incarceration.
- A parent has a history of kidnapping the child.
- A parent has attempted to sabotage the child’s relationship with the other parent.
In circumstances like this, the court may only grant an unfit parent visitation rights or supervised visitation rights with no overnight stays, if anything at all.
What other factors will the New Jersey family court look at?
Even when the New Jersey family court assesses that both parents are parentally fit, they will still go to greater extents before making a child custody decision. That is, they will equally consider the below factors:
- Each parent’s physical, emotional, and financial fitness.
- Each parent’s ability to provide a safe home environment for the child.
- Each parent’s work schedule.
- The child’s activity schedule.
- The child’s medical needs or special needs, if any.
- The child’s bond with each parent during the marriage.
- Which parent was the primary caregiver during the marriage.
- Whether a parent already has a child custody agreement in place from a previous marriage.
- The child’s preference, if they are old enough to voice their opinion.
So, during your child custody proceedings, you must make a strong enough argument that proves that you are parentally fit and that having joint or sole custody would be the best for your child. For assistance with building this defense, you must seek the legal services of a skilled Morristown family law attorney. Call us today.