Experienced Representation in Child Custody Hearings
For parents, the most important issue in a divorce case is child custody, which is why family courts hear so many cases every year. Ideally, child custody cases are best decided outside of a courtroom whenever possible to alleviate the additional stress and anxiety on all parties during the separation—especially the children.
Using Mediation to Decide Child Custody
The Court works to mitigate the effects of the divorce on the family by offering the Parent Mediation Program. The program assists parents in reaching an amicable custody agreement early in the divorce proceedings, before court hearings are necessary. When an amicable agreement is not possible, custody is considered a contested issue and the Court will give parties the opportunity to hire an expert to address custody.
An attorney with both meditation and court experience will be the most effective at reaching a solution with minimal family disruption and strain. In our experience, these matters are best settled outside of court, but should litigation become necessary to protect your interests, our team can provide the representation you need to do what is best for your family.
Finding a Solution That Satisfies All Parties
For many parents, providing a consistent home for a child is one of the most important considerations in a divorce. Before assets are distributed and spousal support is considered, the welfare of any children involved is discussed. The first strategy is to seek an amicable agreement both parties can agree upon as part of family court mediation. If the parents can agree on a solution, the stability of the agreement will likely be the most positive scenario for the child or children.
There are a few possible outcomes of this process:
- One parent will seek sole custody: The child lives with that parent most of the time with no more than two overnights per week with the noncustodial parent.
- Both parents will seek shared custody: The child lives with both parents for more than two overnights per week at a split decision by the Court.
- There is a custody dispute that escalates out of mediation.
Resolving Custody Disputes
Litigation is needed in the event of a dispute, with both parties given the opportunity to provide testimony as to why their preferred solution is in the best interest of the children. The Court’s ruling largely depends on the outcome that will ensure the maximum well-being of the child or children involved. Irrespective of whether one parent views themselves are the primary caretaker, the Court will view both parties as having equal entitlement.
Issues of Child Support
Child support payments are often decided during the final agreement of the child custody arrangement. Usually used when one parent receives full custody of one or more children, child support arises when the noncustodial parent helps cover the cost of caring for the child or children. New Jersey has specific guidelines about the amount of child support custodial parents can be granted based on the incomes of both parents, the number of children involved, and other unique factors. Get a case review for your child custody decision; make an appointment to visit our office in Totowa by calling 973-737-1637.