A divorce can be as difficult for children as it is for their divorcing parents. Losing a traditional home structure in which both parents are present can be upsetting to a young child or a teen.
A New Jersey divorce court will do its best to provide the children of divorcing parents with a stable and healthy home environment. Child custody, however, can be one of the most divisive issues in any the case of divorcing parents.
Do New Jersey Divorce Courts Favor Joint Custody?
New Jersey divorce courts generally favor keeping both parents involved in the lives of their children following a divorce. Most parents want to remain involved in their children’s lives, too.
Joint custody often is the solution provided and grants custody to both parents. The custody might be a 50/50 arrangement, in which one or more children spend roughly equal time with both parents. Custody could also be mostly with one parent while the other has regular visitation rights.
Ultimately, the decision on custody often comes down to the abilities and the availability of the parents. Many times, career demands and other situations might make it difficult for parents to share equal custody. At all times, the court focuses on what is best for the children.
What Extenuating Circumstances Could Affect Custody?
One parent might have other responsibilities that greatly limit the amount of time spent in the home. Someone who is running a business that requires many hours away from home or regular travel is not in an ideal situation to raise a child.
When extenuating circumstances greatly limit one parent’s ability to raise a child, the other parent often gets legal custody. Legal custody grants the right to make important decisions on behalf of a child’s welfare. Those decisions might include schooling, medical treatment, or religious worship.
The other parent often has visitation rights: the right to see one or more children on a regular basis. The visitation might be one weekend per month, or any other timeframe as ordered by the court.
How Do Unfit Parents Lose Custody?
It is possible for a New Jersey divorce court to grant sole custody to one parent, especially in the event that one parent is busy with career or other outside interests that prevent them from attending to home and family obligations.
A parent determined to be unfit would almost certainly lose any custody rights. Many factors could lead a court to rule someone is an unfit parent, including:
- Abusive behavior or domestic violence
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Child abuse or neglect
There are many ways in which a spouse might provide evidence that the other is an unfit parent. Prior convictions for drunk driving or drug possession would be strong evidence that a parent is unfit, as would witness statements or evidence proving the negligent or abusive behavior of one of the parents.
The children also have a say in custody, and can provide the court with their opinion on which parent they would prefer to have custody. If one or more children are especially concerned about one parent, the other might gain legal custody.
Marlton divorce lawyers at Burnham Douglass
Our experienced Marlton divorce lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you with your child custody issues. Call 856-751-5505 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our law offices are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we represent clients in New Jersey, Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, and throughout New Jersey.