Can dads get child custody in New Jersey?

| Mar 25, 2020 | Child custody |

One of the main concerns in any divorce is child custody. This can be an especially significant concern for fathers, who may worry about a judge favoring their child’s mother.

It’s a common misconception that courts will almost always appoint the mother full custody. In reality, custody laws in New Jersey are gender neutral – meaning both parents have an equal chance of gaining custody of their child. And most of the time, a judge will encourage joint custody unless one parent is deemed unfit.

Joint custody can include joint physical custody, joint legal custody or both:

  • Physical custody: This describes who the child will live with.
  • Legal custody: This describes who will make important, long-lasting decisions about the child such as ones about their education, medical care and religion.

A court will consider the best interest of your child when making all custody decisions. A few factors used to determine your child’s best interest include:

  • The health of both parents
  • The age and sex of the child
  • The location of the parents
  • Special needs the child may have
  • Religious or cultural considerations
  • The child’s preference (if 12 or older)
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse

Based on these criteria, a judge will decide if sole custody, joint custody or another arrangement is best for your family. And they will take a holistic approach when deciding this – they won’t just weigh one or two factors.

Child custody battles can be challenging and stressful. If you’re a dad worried about gaining custody of your child, you should consider contacting an experienced child custody attorney near you.