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Questions About Custody from Real Parents in NJ

The Micklin Law Group- Questions About Custody from Real Parents in NJ

There’s nothing worse than feeling alone and confused about how to obtain, keep, or adjust child custody. Parents don’t want to mess around when it comes to what is best for their children, which is why I recommend consulting a NJ child custody lawyer when you’re faced with any sort of struggle. However, I’ve found that although each family’s custody case is different, we can learn a lot from others and apply that knowledge to your case. Here are a few questions I’ve actually received from parents in New Jersey. They may give you an idea of how your custody case will shake out, which can be extremely reassuring when you’re waiting to hear back from a New Jersey family law attorney.

My son has been living with his grandmother (his father’s mother) for 2 years. Back in 2020 when COVID shut everything down and I had to go to work, I couldn’t be around for his virtual learning so I sent him over to his grandmother’s house. Last year I switched my son’s bus transportation services to his grandmother’s house because I was in the process of finding somewhere to go. During the time of my son staying there all he does is play video games all day and all night, to the point where his school grades have dropped drastically because he’s always tired. Now that school is out for summer I have my son. I told his grandmother that I was bringing him back home with me, but I guess they want to take me to court because they feel like my son likes it better with them than me. Can my son’s father request full custody so my son can live with his mother?

If you have a formal custody agreement that was modified in 2020, you’ll need to stick to the terms of that agreement or head to court to request a modification. If you don’t have a formal custody agreement and your ex takes you to court to request full custody, the court’s decision will be based on several factors. You should speak with an experienced family law attorney to ensure your child is protected.

If your ex and his mother live in the same home, the court will view this arrangement as him living with his father for two years. If so, your ex’s attorney will argue that it has been the status quo for him to live there. However, if they are not providing proper care of your child, the court will have their concerns. The court always wants both parents to have time with the child, so it is unlikely that the court will provide sole custody to either party. 

My ex and I share joint legal custody. I want to ask for more parenting time with my son every other weekend. When we went to trial the judge was going to give me two weekends but because of my work schedule I was not able to drive to another state to meet at our halfway point. My son is seven years old now and has a desire to meet every other weekend. It’s been about 6 months since our order went in. Our custody order is temporary until next year. Then it says “both parties shall come up with a new parenting schedule for the child based on his school schedule.” Can I get more time with my child without waiting until next year?

To modify custody/parenting time, you will need to prove to a court that there has been a substantial change of circumstances warranting modification of custody, and that the change is in the best interest of the child. The Court will have a hearing in which the following factors will be considered: 

-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 not based on substantiated abuse;

-The interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings;

-The history of domestic violence, if any;

-The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;

-The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;

-The needs of the child;

-The stability of the home environment offered;

-The quality and continuity of the child’s education;

-The fitness of the parents;

-The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes;

-The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation;

-The parents’ employment responsibilities; and

-The age and number of the children.

Custody modifications are very fact-intensive. Considering there is language that parenting time will be reviewed next year and the custody decision was made 6 months ago, this may be problematic for your request. However, it is possible that you could successfully obtain more parenting time. You should speak with an experienced family law attorney to ensure your interests are protected.  

I’m getting divorced, but my wife keeps saying I will pay her child support and she wants full custody of our daughter. If I ask for partial custody, do I still have to pay child support? I have a child from a previous marriage overseas, and I am responsible for his well being. Will the court also consider this when I ask for partial custody to absolve me of paying child support?

If the other parent has physical custody of the child a majority of the time, you will be providing that parent child support. In New Jersey, child support is calculated using the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The child support you pay is based upon the parties’ incomes, number of overnights, medical insurance premiums for the child, and other factors. If you have a child from a different relationship, and you provide support for the child, the court may take such payments of support into consideration, which will generally reduce your obligation for your daughter.

It is very difficult for one party to get “full” custody of a child. Unless you are a danger to your daughter, you will get some parenting time with your daughter. In fact, parenting time starts at 50/50, and it will be your wife’s burden to prove that your daughter should not be with you 50% of the time. When deciding custody, the court will look at the “Best Interest of the Child” factors.

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