Family courts in New Jersey consider several factors when determining child custody. Parents who wish to file for child custody in New Jersey should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.
Related: Help our readers by sharing your experience with child custody in New Jersey.
Joint Custody in New Jersey
New Jersey family courts encourage both parents to be actively involved in a child's life after separation or divorce, and the court encourages a shared, joint custody arrangement wherever possible. The courts interpret joint custody to be in the best interests of the child.
A joint custody arrangement in New Jersey may include:
- Child lives solely with one parent or alternates with each parent, depending on the needs of the parents and child
- Parents will work with one another in making major decisions for a child with regards to medical and educational decisions
- Sole custody to one parent with appropriate time to a non-custodial parent
- Any other custody arrangement, the court finds to be in the child's best interests
Determining Child Custody in New Jersey
Family courts in New Jersey will consider the following factors when making a custody determination:
- Relationship of the child with his/her parents and siblings
- Each parent's ability to communicate with each other and work together
- Each parent's willingness to accept custody arrangements
- History of a parent's unwillingness to cooperate with a custody plan
- Fitness of each parent
- Geographical proximity of the parents' homes
- Age and number of children
- Child's preference, when the child is of a sufficient age and intelligence to make a decision (over age 12)
- History of domestic violence
- Stability of the home environment
- Needs of the child
Alternative Child Custody in New Jersey
Family courts in New Jersey can order a custody arrangement agreed upon by both parents, unless the custody arrangement does not serve the child's best interests. If parents in New Jersey are unable to agree on a child custody arrangement, a family court in New Jersey can require parents to submit a custody plan for the court's consideration in awarding custody.
For more information about child custody in New Jersey, refer to New Jersey custody statutes or speak with a qualified attorney in New Jersey.