If you are involved in child custody proceedings, please read on, then contact our experienced Bergen County, New Jersey child custody lawyer to learn if a child can weigh in on custody in the state of New Jersey.
Is a child allowed to decide on custody in New Jersey?
Many separating parents mistakenly think that their child can choose whom to live with. Only one state lets a child, of at least 14 years of age and subject to a judge’s approval, choose who takes physical custody of them. Needless to say, that state is not New Jersey. Some states consider a child’s preference if the child possesses sufficient intellectual capacity and maturity. For better or worse, that includes New Jersey. In the Garden State, a child can’t absolutely decide with which parent to live until he or she turns 18. However, the older the child, the more likely a judge will heed the child’s stated preference for parental living arrangements when he or she makes his or her ruling.
How is child custody determined in New Jersey?
Central to any child custody decision in New Jersey is the child’s best interests. Judges expect parents to put the needs of their children before their own. They will consider the extent to which each parent has demonstrated an ability and desire to meet the child’s developmental needs, based on 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, which isn’t based on substantiated abuse
- The interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings
- Any history of domestic violence
- The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent
- The child’s needs
- The stability of the home environment offered by the parents
- The quality and continuity of the child’s education
- The parents’ fitness to exercise custody
- The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes
- The extent and quality of the time spent with the child before or after the separation
- The parents’ employment responsibilities
- The age and number of the children
How can a Bergen County family law attorney help you?
For many, divorce is the most personal and most significant legal matter they will ever encounter and no issue is thornier or more emotional than hashing out child custody. Whatever issues exist between you and the other parent, the best interests of your child must remain at the forefront. To that end, our skilled Bergen County, New Jersey family law attorney will help develop a long-term solution that takes the needs of all parties, including your child, into account. Our firm will effectively guide you through each step of the legal process ahead, so give us a call today.
Contact Our Experienced Bergen County Firm
Whether you are getting divorced or are facing any other family law matter, you need competent legal assistance on your side. Our legal team is dedicated to fighting for individuals, their families, and their future. Contact HD Family Law today to schedule your initial consultation with our compassionate and experienced firm.