There is a common misconception that the courts favor mothers over fathers in custody proceedings. Others think that parents with the most resources usually get custody of a child. None of these is true. The courts in New Jersey favor joint custody orders over others because they are usually best for the children. However, they base their decision on the child’s best interests, which is determined by not one but many different factors.
What are the child’s best interests?
The law in New Jersey states that the court’s priority must be the child’s best interests when determining a custody order. The child’s best interests does not mean the child will stay with the parent with the higher income or the more affectionate one. The court decides the child’s best interests based on many different factors, such as:
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- The parents’ ability to communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child
- The interaction and relationship of each parent with the child
- The needs of the child
- The parents’ employment responsibilities
The court also considers the child’s preference if they are old enough to decide. Nonetheless, this does not mean that the court will decide based on the child’s wishes, as they have to consider all of the other relevant factors according to the law.
Your right as a parent
The court may not deny you legal or physical custody of your child unless they believe that any harm could come to your child by spending time with you. If the relationship you have with your child is good and healthy, there is nothing to fear. You may not lose your child unless the circumstances are against you. Even if you did, you could appeal the court’s decision or ask for a custody modification. It is your child, and you will always have the possibility of fighting for them in court.