New Jersey Courts have shown a preference for custody arrangements that allow both parents full and genuine involvement in the lives of their children following a divorce. New Jersey Family Court Judges have discretion in ordering any custodial arrangement they consider to be in the best interest of a minor child. There are several factors that a Court must consider before entering a final custody award. These factors are set forth in N.J.S.A. 9:2-4 and include the following:

In making an award of custody, the court will consider the following factors:

  • the parents' ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child;
  • the parents' willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
  • the interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings;
  • the history of domestic violence, if any;
  • the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
  • the preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;
  • the needs of the child;
  • the stability of the home environment offered;
  • the quality and continuity of the child's education;
  • the fitness of the parents;
  • the geographical proximity of the parents' homes;
  • the extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation;
  • the parents' employment responsibilities; and
  • the age and number of the children.

A parent shall not be deemed unfit unless the parents' conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Smith & Doran, P.C., in Morristown can help parents negotiate a parenting plan which outlines how they will spend time with their children. Our goal is to work with you to find an arrangement that maintains a healthy relationship between parents and children.

Jane Ellen Doran brings three decades of experience to her role as a New Jersey child custody lawyer. As a certified mediator, she and our team of family law attorneys can also help parents find a peaceful resolution to child custody issues. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Smith & Doran, P.C., are also skilled litigators who can help protect your child's interests in court if both parties cannot reach an agreement and a conflict arises regarding the best interest of the child.

Talk to our supportive New Jersey child custody lawyers

Our goal is to ensure your child's well being while protecting your rights as a parent. To schedule a time to discuss your needs, contact us online or call us at 973-532-2661.