New Jersey courts assess a variety of factors in determining the best interests of your child. Based on their findings, they may recommend an order that allows both you and your ex to stay actively involved in your child’s life.
Knowing the types of things the courts look at can help you prepare to put your best foot forward.
Your child’s needs
Your child will undoubtedly notice the changes to your family’s dynamic. Depending on his or her age and maturity, you may notice a range of emotional responses. An older child may withdraw while a younger child may develop behavioral issues. Focusing on your child’s needs and maintaining consistency may help to reduce the negative impacts stemming from your divorce. The courts may assess needs including the following:
- Your child’s emotional well-being
- Your child’s physical health
- Your child’s relationships with you and your ex
- Your child’s social life
- Your child’s educational engagement
- Your child’s extracurricular commitments
The courts will also look at your ability to provide a stable and safe home. According to Childwelfare.gov, you need to be able to provide food, clothing, emotional support and access to medical care.
Your own mental and physical health also play a role in your ability to parent your child. As you prepare to enter child custody negotiations, understand your rights and New Jersey law. Focus your effort on caring for you children and providing them with a loving home. Even if you experience ongoing conflict with your ex, avoid confrontation in front of your children. Doing your best to remain cordial and amicable during this time can help you establish rapport with the courts.