New Jersey Divorce Custody
New Jersey divorce custody guidelines are based on the premise that the best interests of the child should not be compromised. Certain factors are considered while awarding custody of the child during custody battles in the state of New Jersey because the state courts attempt to ensure that the child involved in the divorce does not get detrimentally affected owing to the custody battle. The factors are mentioned below:
- The actual wishes of the parents are first analyzed by NJ courts. An attempt is made to determine which parent “fits the bill”, of meeting the requirements of the child from emotional support to financial and educational support.
- NJ divorce custody guidelines specify that custody is not awarded to the parent based on his/her sex and financial capabilities. A financially weaker parent can be awarded custody of the child with the child support being extended by the other parent.
- While awarding child custody in New Jersey, the employment responsibilities of the parents are also considered. This is to ensure that the child is not neglected by the parent to whom the courts finally award custody, owing to that parent’s job duties.
- Similarly, in the state of New Jersey, a father has equal chances of getting child custody as the mother because courts try to determine which parent bonds most with the child and to whom does the child turn to in moments of duress.
- New Jersey courts prefer joint child custody, where both the parents are given legal or physical custody (or both) of the child so that they can contribute in the raising up of their child. Such custody is awarded if it is in the best interests of the child and safety and welfare of the child is ensured in every step.
- Joint custody is awarded to the parents if both the divorced parents are found to be cooperating with each other regarding child care. Generally physical custody of the child is awarded to the parent who is most likely to abide by the child custody rules of the court and does not attempt to alienate the child from the other parent. New Jersey courts try to determine which parent tries to encourage the relationship between the child with his/her ex-spouse.
- Courts also consider how mentally and physically fit are the parents. If a spouse proves in the court the other spouse is mentally unwell or has a physical ailment and hence, is incapable of raising the child, then the other “fitter” parent is likely to get the custody of the child.
- Joint custody of the child is not awarded if a parent has a case of child abuse or child neglect or has criminal proceedings against him/her. Then the other parent is awarded the custody of the child and visitation rights are awarded to the other parent. Visitation rights are also forfeited from that parent, if his/her presence is found to be detrimental for the child.
- Parental preferences of the child in child custody battles are sought upon in two cases: firstly, if the child appears mature and intelligent while voicing his/her opinion; secondly, if the child has a valid, sound reason for preferring a parent over the other. NJ judges are known to ask the child in private chambers (where the parents and even their attorneys are not allowed to be present), regarding with which parent they wish to live after their divorce. This practice is however, avoided because the child may have guilt pangs later in his/her life, unless the child himself/herself seeks to give his/her opinion. Then the courts try to determine if the child is being pressurized by any of the parties or is under the influence of any of the parents.
- NJ courts prefer the parent who can offer the same stable environment to the child and the community to which the child is familiar with.
- NJ Child support is the financial support extended to the child to meet his/her growing needs. This figure is calculated by “income shares” model followed by the state where the incomes of both the parents are considered while arriving at a figure that should be allotted to the child. That amount also depends on the special needs of the child, the number of children, the living standards that the child is used to, sources of income of the child etc.
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