There can be a lot of tension amongst parents when it comes to determining child custody and visitation, with each parent thinking that they know what is best for their child. When these two competing views clash, allegations of parental unfitness can fly. This can make it challenging for a judge to determine which course of action supports the child’s best interests, especially since he or she has very little information about the family other than what is presented to him or her, which is why he or she may order an investigation into the matter.
What is a child custody investigation
Under New Jersey law, the court has the ability to order an investigation to gather more information that can help guide the court’s decision on child custody and visitation matters. These investigations are often ordered after unsuccessful mediation, and can be quite through. Each of the following can be investigated during the course of one of these evaluations:
- Each parent’s character
- Each parent’s physical and mental fitness
- Each parent’s financial resources
- The condition of each parent’s home
- Any necessary safeguards that are present in each home
- Each parent’s criminal history
- The number of people in each parent’s household and their relationship to the child
Assessing a parent’s character and fitness opens the door to a wide-ranging investigation. A parent may even be subjected to a mental health evaluation to determine if he or she has any limitations that could affect parenting ability.
Be prepared to argue for your child’s best interests
Although a judge may consider the results of a child custody investigation quite heavily, you’ll still have your chance to present evidence to support your position and argue why it best supports your child’s best interests. This means that you need to be armed with evidence to show parental substance abuse, domestic violence, untreated mental health conditions, histories of abuse or neglect, and financial insecurity. It can be challenging to come up with a cohesive legal strategy, especially when emotions in these matters often run on high. That’s why many New Jersey residents find it helpful to seek out assistance from a legal professional who is experienced in this area of the law.