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Is Child Custody Always 50/50 in New Jersey?

As a divorcing parent, nothing is more important to you than protecting the well-being of your child. Often, parents assume that child custody is split 50/50 between parents, but is this always true? Read this blog and speak with our knowledgeable Somerset County child custody lawyers to learn more. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Is Child Custody Usually a 50/50 Split in New Jersey?

Child custody decisions in New Jersey are guided by the best interests of the child. The courts consider several factors to ensure the child’s welfare is prioritized. These factors include the parents’ ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate regarding the child. The court also looks at the relationship each parent has with the child, the child’s safety, and the child’s preference if they are old enough to express it.

Other considerations include the stability of the home environment, the fitness of the parents, and the geographical proximity of the parents’ homes. It’s essential to understand that the court’s primary goal is to maintain continuity and stability in the child’s life. Therefore, a 50/50 custody arrangement might not always be feasible or in the child’s best interest.

How Does the Court Decide on a Custody Arrangement?

When deciding on a custody arrangement, the court evaluates all relevant factors and circumstances surrounding the family’s situation. In New Jersey, joint custody is encouraged, allowing both parents to remain actively involved in their child’s life. However, joint custody doesn’t necessarily mean an equal 50/50 split.

The court may award joint legal custody, where both parents share decision-making responsibilities, but one parent may have primary physical custody. In such cases, the child resides mainly with one parent while the other has visitation rights. Alternatively, the court might award joint physical custody, where the child spends significant time with both parents, but this doesn’t always translate to an exact 50/50 division of time.

Each case is unique, and the court’s decision hinges on the specific dynamics and needs of the family involved. If parents can collaborate and agree on a schedule that works best for their child, the court is likely to honor that agreement, provided it serves the child’s best interests.

Can Parents Influence the Custody Decision?

Parents play a crucial role in influencing the custody decision. If both parents can demonstrate their commitment to co-parenting and show they can put their child’s needs above their own conflicts, they have a better chance of achieving a favorable custody arrangement. Mediation and collaborative divorce processes can help parents reach an agreement without a contentious court battle.

However, if parents cannot agree, the court steps in to make a decision. In such scenarios, it becomes imperative for each parent to present a compelling case that highlights their ability to provide a stable, loving, and supportive environment for their child. Factors such as work schedules, living arrangements, and each parent’s involvement in the child’s daily life come under scrutiny.

Parents should also be aware that any behavior that undermines the other parent’s relationship with the child can negatively impact their case. Demonstrating a willingness to facilitate a healthy and ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent is crucial.

If you have further questions about child custody in New Jersey or would like to speak with a seasoned family lawyer, please don’t hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC today.

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