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What factors do courts consider during custody cases?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2022 | Child Custody

In New Jersey, courts will consider a variety of factors related to the parents, the children, their relationship and the physical environment when making a decision about child custody. However, if the parents reach a custody agreement that serves the best interests of the child, the courts will usually approve it.

Factors related to the parents, children, and their relationships

The way parents act and how they get along with their children will be evaluated by the court during a custody hearing. Some of the factors the courts will look at include:

• Each parent’s relationship with their child
• The parents’ relationship with each other and their ability to communicate amicably
• The child’s preference about where they want to live, if the child is old enough to express an opinion
• A parent’s history of accepting custody of the child
• A parent’s history of preventing the other parent from seeing their child when there are no proven allegations of abuse
• Any history of abuse from one parent to the child or the other parent

Factors related to physical environment and parenting

Additionally, the court will also consider factors related to raising children and the physical environment. These include:

• A child’s age and needs related to education, health and extracurricular interests
• Each parent’s physical and mental health
• The number of children living the home
• Parents’ work responsibilities
• The home environment of each parent and the location in proximity to the other parent’s home
• the consistency of the child’s education and upbringing

In most cases, courts look preferably towards joint custody agreements where parents share the responsibility of raising the child. In some cases, the custody agreement will be 50-50. However, there are other combinations, with some parents in situations where one parent will have sole custody and the other parent will have visitation rights.