When custody arrangements are being established during a divorce proceeding, one of the questions fathers may have is do they have any say in whether or not they will be able to act as the custodial parent of the child or children. For many years, it was common for the mother to automatically receive custody, mostly because it was believed that children needed a maternal figure during their younger years.
This is no longer the case. In most courts, both mothers and fathers are considered equal when it comes to establishing custody arrangements and the leading factor taken into consideration is not the sex of the parent, but what is in the best interest of the child. New Jersey considers the age of the child or children, what each parent's home environment is like and, if the child is old enough to express his or her feelings on the subject, what the child would prefer.
Do you feel that you were the primary caregiver? Were you a stay at home dad, or did your occupation allow for a more free schedule where you could be home more often? If you feel that there were circumstances that the court should know about, which may support your position that you can better serve as the primary caregiver in the family subsequent to the finalization of the divorce, it is up to you to seek the advice of counsel who can help you make the argument that you would be the best caregiver for your child or children on a post-divorce basis.
Frequent Contact And Visits
New Jersey is one of the states that works very hard to ensure that both parents have continued contact with their children after a divorce. It is still common in New Jersey for the mother to become what is now called the “parent of primary residence” and the father to be what is now called “the parent of alternate residence.” However, in some cases, those roles are reversed. In any instance, what the courts seek to do is to make sure that both parents still remain very involved in the life of their child.
There are times when it is possible for parents to share both physical and legal custody of the child or children. However, the parents have to be very agreeable, maintain constant communication, and must live a very short distance from each other, so that the child is always attending the same school and is near friends and such. It most instances, this is not truly feasible and so one parents becomes the parent of primary residence.
Sharing physical and legal custody is an tricky process that you would have to address with your attorney, your ex-wife's attorney and the family court. It may at first seem like the best solution, but you would have to, as stated before, agree to very open lines of communication between you and your ex-wife. Therefore, it is important to explore all of your options before settling on that one.
Are You A Father Seeking Custody?
Are you a father going through a divorce? Are you seeking to be the parent of primary residence for your child or children? It is important to keep in mind that in this day and age, you have a right to petition the court for primary custody if you feel you are the best parent for the role.
You, along with your counsel, can petition the court for you to be the parent of primary residence. If you can show that your daily presence, guidance and supervision is in the best interest of your children, then you may have a legitimate claim in the family court system.
As a father, you will always be involved with your child. You still have a long term role to play in the life your child. A divorce should not eliminate that role. You can reasonably expect to be able to be involved with medical decisions, education decisions and other plans that affect your child.
Call An experienced New Jersey Father's Rights Lawyer
If you, for whatever reason, feel your rights as a father are being withheld in some way, you need to seek experienced legal advice as soon as possible. Are you not able to see your child or speak to him or her as often as you like? Are you being left out of educational or medical decisions? Do you feel you are not having enough input and influence into your child's life? Protect your rights as a father and call Villani & DeLuca, P.C. today. We have experienced family law attorneys waiting to assist you through this difficult process and who will work hard to protect you and your children.