How Do the Courts Determine the Best Interest of a Child in a New Jersey?

man standing with baby on his shoulders

If you and your spouse are divorcing, there are many considerations the courts must make. If you have a child together, the courts will prioritize ensuring the child is in the best living conditions for their needs. As such, the judge assigned to your case will consider several elements to determine the best interest of the child. If this reflects your circumstances, ensuring you have New Jersey child custody attorneys on your side is crucial to proving you are fit to have custody of your children. The following blog explores what the courts will consider when you are fighting for custody.

What Do the Courts Consider When Looking at the Best Interest of a Child?

When you are in court fighting for custody of your children, you must understand what the courts will consider when determining a parenting schedule.

In New Jersey, the courts will generally start with the assumption that spending equal time with both parents is in the child’s best interest. However, the courts will then consider the following factors and adjust the schedule accordingly:

  • Whether or not the parents can cooperate
  • Who the child’s primary caretaker was before the divorce
  • Where each parent lives in relation to the child’s school, family, and extracurricular activities
  • Whether or not there are any accusations of domestic violence or neglect against either parent
  • Whether either parent has substance abuse issues
  • Each parent’s work schedule
  • The stability each parent can provide

The courts will do everything possible to ensure the child can, at the very least, spend time with both parents. However, if it is truly in the best interest of the child to avoid spending time with one parent, the courts will award sole custody.

How Can I Prove I Am the Best Option for My Child?

If you are battling for custody of your child in a divorce, understanding what you can do to prove you are the best fit is crucial. However, it’s essential to note that unless you have reason to believe that your child is in danger when in the custody of your spouse, you should not attempt to discredit your spouse’s parenting abilities, especially if they are a fit parent and spending time with them would benefit your child. As such, you’ll want to ensure you highlight your parenting abilities. The courts will appreciate your cooperation with your spouse.

To prove yourself as a fit parent, you’ll want to ensure you have a safe and habitable environment for your child to live in. Additionally, paying attention to your child’s likes and taking an active role in their life is crucial. Though it may seem obvious, those going through a divorce often let these fall on their priority list as they are overwhelmed with legal issues.

As these issues can be incredibly overwhelming, it’s essential to do everything possible to help prove you are a great parent to your child. Keeping parenting logs and other evidence that you take an active role in your child’s life is critical. However, when going through a divorce, you likely have enough to take into consideration. As such, it’s essential to ensure you consult the experienced team at Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn to explore your legal options. Contact us today to learn how we will fight for your child’s best interest.