Child custody in New Jersey may be awarded to either parent, based on the best interests of the child. In making an award of custody, the New Jersey court shall consider but not be limited to the following New Jersey Child Custody Laws 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.
- 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.
[Based on New Jersey Divorce Statutes 9:2-4]
9:2-2. Custody of children of divorced or separated parents within jurisdiction of Superior Court; removal from jurisdiction; consent; security
When the Superior Court has jurisdiction over the custody and maintenance of the minor children of parents divorced, separated or living separate, and such children are natives of this State, or have resided five years within its limits, they shall not be removed out of its jurisdiction against their own consent, if of suitable age to signify the same, nor while under that age without the consent of both parents, unless the court, upon cause shown, shall otherwise order. The court, upon application of any person in behalf of such minors, may require such security and issue such writs and processes as shall be deemed proper to effect the purposes of this section.
Amended by L.1948, c. 321, p. 1295, s. 2.
9:2-3. Custody of children of parents living separately; powers of court
9:2-3. When the parents of a minor child live separately, or are about to do so, the Superior Court, in an action brought by either parent, shall have the same power to make judgments or orders concerning care, custody, education and maintenance as concerning a minor child whose parents are divorced. Until the court determines the final custody of the minor child and unless the parties agree otherwise, the court shall determine temporary custody based upon the best interests of the child with due regard to the caretaking arrangement that previously existed. No child shall be taken forcibly or against the will of the parent having custody by the other parent without a court order. If the child has not, at the time of the commencement of the action, reached the age of 16 years, and if it is represented to the court by affidavit or under oath that evidence will be adduced involving the moral turpitude of either parent, or of the minor child, or that evidence will be adduced which may reflect upon the good reputation or social standing of the child, then the court shall admit to the hearing of such case only such persons as are directly interested in the matter then being heard. The records of such proceedings, including all papers filed with the court, shall be withheld from indiscriminate public inspection, but shall be open to inspection by the parents, or their attorneys, and to no other person except by order of the court made for that purpose.
Amended 1948,c.321,ss.3,11; 1953,c.9,s.3; 1990,c.26,s.1.
9:2-4. Custody of child; rights of both parents considered
9:2-4. The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy.
In any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal and the court shall enter an order which may include:
a. Joint custody of a minor child to both parents, which is comprised of legal custody or physical custody which shall include: (1) provisions for residential arrangements so that a child shall reside either solely with one parent or alternatively with each parent in accordance with the needs of the parents and the child; and (2) provisions for consultation between the parents in making major decisions regarding the child's health, education and general welfare;
b. Sole custody to one parent with appropriate parenting time for the noncustodial parent; or
c. Any other custody arrangement as the court may determine to be in the best interests of the child.
In making an award of custody, the court shall consider but not be limited to 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 court, for good cause and upon its own motion, may appoint a guardian ad litem or an attorney or both to represent the minor child's interests. The court shall have the authority to award a counsel fee to the guardian ad litem and the attorney and to assess that cost between the parties to the litigation.
d. The court shall order any custody arrangement which is agreed to by both parents unless it is contrary to the best interests of the child.
e. In any case in which the parents cannot agree to a custody arrangement, the court may require each parent to submit a custody plan which the court shall consider in awarding custody.
f. The court shall specifically place on the record the factors which justify any custody arrangement not agreed to by both parents.
Amended 1948, c.321, ss.4,11; 1974, c.143; 1990, c.26, s.2; 1997, c.299, s.9.
How Can I Get New Jersey Child Custody Help?
|Phone Coaching with Child Custody Coach®|
The phone coaching sessions are designed so you can have a fast, efficient, and economical way of scheduling a coaching session to discuss your child custody, child custody evaluation, and/or divorce related matter via telephone in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Phone coaching is flexible and allows you the opportunity to request an appointment before work, after work, or on a weekend or at any time that is convenient for you. The phone coaching session can often be scheduled and take place the same day payment is made and forms are received for those seeking immediate coaching. For full details about fees and how to get started click here.
|In-Person Coaching with Child Custody Coach®|
The in-person coaching sessions are designed for parents who prefer face-to-face meetings and are held in Orange County California. Southern California residents in Orange County, Los Angeles, Ventura, Long Beach, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego will often request to discuss their matters with me in-person. In-person coaching sessions are held in the Mission Viejo area or Costa Mesa area in South Orange County California and are an option made available to persons who can travel to one of these two locations. For full details about fees and how to get started click here.
|Monthly Coaching with Child Custody Coach®|
Monthly coaching is designed to provide ongoing coaching and support throughout the month and provides for an economical way of receiving such support on matters such as divorce, child custody, move-aways, post-judgment modifications, child custody evaluations, etc. Fees are known up front so there are no surprises. This also allows you to choose the plan that is right for you and also works within your budget. Weekly coaching sessions and email communications allow you to discuss your child custody matters, developments, and results regularly throughout the month. For full details on fees and how to get started click here.