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Fathers sometimes feel that the law favors mothers in disputes involving children. While this might have traditionally been the case, New Jersey law recognizes the value of a child having both parents in their life and strives to treat both parents equally.
If you and your child’s mother are having a dispute about child support, visitation, custody, or any other issue, a court must consider your needs, desires, and point of view, coupled with the best interest of the child. If you feel you are not being heard, a West Caldwell father’s rights lawyer can help. With deep experience in New Jersey family law, a dedicated family attorney can help you navigate these emotional and difficult issues to find a resolution that honors your relationships with your children.
In any decision regarding children, courts try to find the outcome that best serves the child. In making these decisions, courts usually assume that the arrangement that is the least disruptive for the child is the solution that is in their best interest. However, New Jersey courts also understand that a meaningful relationship with both parents is beneficial to the child. A West Caldwell father’s attorney could present possible solutions that strike a balance a court can accept.
If one parent has had primary responsibility for childcare, that does not automatically mean that it is in the child’s best interest to not have meaningful and consistent parenting time with the other parent. The court will consider the child’s schedule and needs, as well as the parent’s work schedule and each parent’s ability to be with the child.
New Jersey Revised Statutes §9-2.4 allows courts to consider all relevant factors without favoring a mother over a father for gender-based reasons. With the help of a seasoned West Caldwell attorney, a father can work to substantiate to a court that their continued significant involvement in the child’s life, up to and including awarding primary physical custody in appropriate cases.
Parents have considerable flexibility to arrive at a solution regarding custody and visitation that works for them. The details might change to suit the specific family’s needs, but in general, courts award custody in one of three ways:
In this arrangement, parents share time with the children equally or roughly equally. Children often divide the week, with one parent having every Monday and Tuesday and the other parent having every Wednesday and Thursday, with the parties alternating every other weekend, or parents will alternate one week with one parent and one week with the other, for examples. The day-to-day decision-making authority usually rests with the parent who has physical custody on that day. This arrangement is beneficial when the parents live near each other, communicate well, and can keep the child’s best interest foremost.
This is a common arrangement that allows both parents to maintain their relationship with their children and maintain continuity for the children, especially with regards to their academics. One parent, typically the parent who has had primary childcare responsibility, retains primary physical custody. The other parent has visitation rights and primary custody periodically, such as on weekends or school holidays.
Many primary breadwinners, who do not have time to devote to childcare every day, are able to maintain a place in their child’s life and spend quality time with them on a regular basis, while not disturbing the children’s routine around the parent’s work schedule. Parents have the power to divide time with the children in whatever way makes the most sense for their family and everyone’s schedules and work/school demands.
New Jersey courts usually award sole physical custody to one parent only when there is concern about the other parent’s fitness. If a parent has a history of child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, or a criminal record that includes violent crime, a court might award sole physical custody to the other parent.
Sometimes, a mother might raise these issues out of bitterness or a determination to hurt, despite them not being relevant under the circumstances. A West Caldwell father’s rights attorney can ensure that the court considers all the evidence, including the father’s conduct since the child’s birth and his efforts to establish and maintain a relationship with the child, before awarding sole physical custody to the mother.
Courts should not make gender-based decisions when awarding child custody and parenting plans and visitation agreements. Their primary focus should be the best interest of the children.
A West Caldwell father’s rights lawyer can ensure that the court gives due consideration to your needs and desires regarding your children. Our attorneys at Williams Law Group are dedicated to protecting your rights and will make sure your voice is heard. Give us a call today to learn more about what we can do for you.