In New Jersey, custody may be awarded to either of the child’s parents. Should the parents be unable to reach a mutual agreement regarding custody arrangements, the court will consider factors based on the child’s best interests.

What Are Some of the Factors in Determining Full Custody?

Courts in New Jersey weigh several factors in awarding custody, including:

  • The needs of the child, as well as their preferences when they are of an age and capacity to formulate reasonable and intelligent decisions
  • The quality of the child’s education and social community
  • The parent’s willingness to cooperate with one another and foster continued contact between both parents and the child
  • The stability of the environment in the newly allocated home, as well as the geographic proximity to both parents’ residences
  • The mental, physical and emotional fitness of the parents
  • Previous incidences of domestic violence, and other issues regarding the child’s safety
  • The nature of the child’s relation with each parent prior to separation

Are There Any Other Considerations That Are Specific to New Jersey?

Yes, in New Jersey, courts will not conclude that a parent is unfit unless their conduct has had a “substantially adverse effect” on the child. This is a higher standard than many other states, and could have other implications besides parental custody. For example, if a grandparent wishes to assume custody of the child, he or she will likely have to show that the biological parent is deemed unfit under the New Jersey standard.

Do I Need a New Jersey Lawyer for My Child Custody Claim?

Child custody laws vary from state to state and may become complicated as the claim progresses over time. Changes in location or violations of the custody order can result in modifications to the custody order. Therefore, not only is it advantageous to secure a lawyer in New Jersey early on in the proceedings, but it also can be helpful to retain their services over time in order to assist you in coping with changes down the road. LegalMatch offers access to attorneys in Trenton, New Jersey for Child Custody as well as many other cities such as Orange, Passaic and Paterson.