Child custody arrangements are complex because they focus on the most vulnerable, important part of the divorce process – the children of the divorcing couple. For a family, a divorce changes everything about their daily lives and routines. Living arrangements, household members, money allocation and other asset exchanges all shift following a divorce. Because of this, a primary goal of nearly all divorcing couples with children is to keep the children's lives as stable as possible.
Shared Custody In Monmouth County Divorce
Most couples opt for a shared custody agreement. In fact, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4 requires that all children under the age of eighteen have contact with both parents after a divorce. Primary custody is no longer automatically awarded to mothers – it's the 21st century, and as gender and family roles have evolved, divorce settlements have evolved with them. Custody arrangements are now determined by a list of factors that creates an intricate profile of each parent and their household. Once the court has a clear picture of both potential homes for the children, it determines a custody agreement that will best serve the children's needs.
Child Custody In New Jersey
Some of the items on this list are related to the parents' abilities to get along with each other. How willing are they to cooperate and accept compromises? What is each parent's history with the court and previous child custody rulings? Can both parents be flexible and adapt to changing needs and circumstances as their child matures? These are all questions that the court must answer when developing a custody arrangement.
Factors within each household are also considered when developing a child custody agreement. The court will consider the number of children and their ages in each home. It also probes into the children's relationships with both parents and the stability of each household. To answer questions about household stability, the court will look into whether each parent rents or owns his or her home, the number and relationships of all other household members, and the parent's financial stability.
Children's Input In New Jersey Divorce
Sometimes, a child also has a say in his or her custody agreement. If the child is deemed mature enough to decide which parent he or she would prefer to live with, this preference may be taken into consideration. Usually, this preference becomes a factor after the age of twelve. The child's personal needs, including proximity to school and educational resources within each home, are also taken into account when developing a child custody arrangement.
In a divorce, the children's needs must always be given top priority. Parents make the conscious decision to divorce, but their offspring must live with the divorce's life-altering consequences. Sometimes, a divorce is the healthiest option for a family and leads to better personal opportunities for all members. In other cases, years of strained relations and uncomfortable readjustments follow a divorce. The easiest way to avoid the latter scenario is to develop a transparent, cooperative custody arrangement that allows both parents and all children to feel empowered about their decisions.
Speak With A Ocean County Divorce Attorney
Custody agreements are complicated, but with the careful guidance of an experienced divorce attorney, positive decisions for every member of the family can be made. There is no “one size fits all” custody agreement, just like there is no archetypal family in New Jersey. Every arrangement is custom-suited for the family it is developed for.
Villani & DeLuca Divorce Attorneys
If you are divorcing and need help with child custody arrangements, call Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at (732) 965-3999 for your free legal consultation. Villani & DeLuca, P.C. have been serving Ocean and Monmouth county families since 1996 and will bring their extensive legal knowledge to your case. Divorces are difficult. Let Villani & DeLuca, P.C. help to make yours a little bit easier.