The best interests of your child: How do courts decide?
Every child custody dispute boils down to one important thing. The courts must focus on the best interests of the child or children involved. When parents know how courts determine a child’s best interests, they can better predict the decision a court will make. With this knowledge, it’s easier for parents to come to a mutual out-of-court agreement, which avoids the expenses, time and stresses of trial proceedings.
Here are the most important factors that a New Jersey family law court will consider when making a determination on your child’s best interests:
- Can the parents come to agreement?
- Are the parents able to communicate and cooperate with one another?
- Have either of the parents been accused or convicted of domestic violence?
- What is the relationship like between the parent and the child and between the child and siblings with whom he or she might live?
- Is the home environment stable? Is a particular parent’s home likely to be more stable than the other parent’s home?
- Are the parents fit to take care of and raise the child?
- Are the parents gainfully employed? Does one parent have more employment stability than the other?
Unfortunately, New Jersey courts are familiar with parents who seek to honor their own needs above the needs of their children. In these cases, courts may tend to side with the parent who is more aligned with the best interests of his or her child over the parent’s own interest. Focusing on what is best for your child during a divorce can go a long way while navigating child custody proceedings.
Source: FindLaw, “Focusing on the “Best Interests” of the Child,” accessed Jan. 05, 2018