Determining Child Custody in New Jersey

In general, family courts in New Jersey will consider the following factors when making a custody determination:

  • The quality of the relationship of the child with each of his/her parents and siblings
  • Each parent’s ability to communicate with one another and work together for the child’s best interests
  • Each parent’s willingness to accept court-appointed child custody arrangements
  • Any history of either parent’s unwillingness to cooperate with a formal child custody plan or court-appointed custody arrangement
  • The general fitness of each parent to care for the child
  • The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes or residences
  • The age of the children
  • The number of children in the home, including children from another marriage or relationship
  • The child’s preference, as stated in court, if the child is of a sufficient age and intelligence to make such a decision (for example, if the child is over age 12)
  • Any history of domestic violence within the immediate family and particularly if​ perpetrated by either parent
  • The general stability of the home environment
  • The needs of the child (such as unique, documented emotional or medical needs)

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