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How Can a Father Get Full Custody of Their Child in Monmouth County, NJ?

How Can a Father Get Full Custody of Their Child in Monmouth County, NJ?

Child custody can be one of the most challenging and emotionally stressful matters handled by the family courts. Parents believe they know what is in the best interest of their children. However, when parties disagree on any issue, the court must decide.

New Jersey custody laws clearly state that it is the state’s public policy to ensure that children have continuing and frequent contact with both parents after a separation or divorce. The rights of both parents are equal when the proceeding begins, but the court has the discretion to grant sole custody to either parent.

Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody for Fathers in Monmouth County, NJ

There are several types of custody the court can grant. Parental rights depend on what type of custody the court grants.

Joint custody means parents share child-rearing responsibilities. Each parent can make significant decisions for their child regarding their healthcare, education, and general welfare, which is known as legal custody.

There are also provisions for residential arrangements or physical custody. Physical custody could mean the child lives primarily with one parent, known as the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent would have frequent visitation with the child. The child could also alternatively live between both homes.

Sole custody gives one parent exclusive right to make decisions for their child. If they have sole physical custody, the child lives solely with that parent. The court may deny or limit visitation if it is in the child’s best interest. The judge could also order supervised visitation.

What Does the Court Consider When Deciding a Child Custody Case in New Jersey?

The judge considers numerous factors when determining the best interest of the child. 

According to the code, the court may consider:

  • Each parent’s ability to communicate, agree, and cooperate in matters related to the child
  • A parent’s willingness to accept custody
  • A parent’s unwillingness to allow parenting time based on something other than substantiated abuse
  • A history of domestic violence
  • The relationship between the child and the parents and siblings
  • The child’s safety
  • The child’s reasonable preference for custody if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to make reasonable decisions
  • The stability of the child’s home and the desire to maintain continuity
  • The child’s needs
  • The proximity of the parents’ homes
  • The quality and extent of time each parent spent with the child before separation or divorce
  • The age and number of children

The court can appoint a guardian ad litem or an attorney to represent a child’s interests during a child custody case. The primary consideration will be the child’s best interest. If a father wants sole custody, he must prove that giving him sole custody is in the child’s best interest.

Proving a Father Should Have Sole Custody of His Child in Monmouth County, NJ

A father seeking sole custody in New Jersey must prove that exceptional circumstances warrant sole custody, such as a restraining order or emergency custody being in place. Other examples of exceptional circumstances could include child abuse or abandonment.

The father can also prove that the child’s other parent is unfit. Parental fitness refers to a parent’s willingness and ability to care for their child’s needs. Various circumstances can make a parent unfit to have custody. In those situations, the court could grant sole custody to the father.

State law says that a parent is not deemed unfit unless their conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child. 

Circumstances a judge may consider when determining a parent’s fitness to have custody include:

  • A parent’s history of substance abuse, including abuse of or addiction to alcohol, controlled substances, illegal drugs, or prescription medications
  • A parent has a serious mental health condition that impairs their ability to care for a child or endangers a child
  • A parent has committed domestic violence
  • A parent abandons, abuses, or neglects their child
  • A physical, emotional, or financial limitation or impairment renders them incapable of providing care for the child
  • A parent’s living conditions are unsanitary or otherwise dangerous for a child
  • A parent’s work schedule prevents them from being able to provide sufficient care for their child
  • A parent shows a lack of interest in their child, such as failing to exercise visitation, participate in activities important to the child, show up for a child’s performances or sports events, etc.
  • A parent has shown a lack of common sense to make sound decisions for a child
  • A parent’s criminal record shows a history of violence or conduct that would be dangerous to the child or put the child at risk

A Monmouth County child custody lawyer can help a father gather evidence proving the other parent is unfit, such as testimony from eyewitnesses, medical records, a child’s testimony, financial records, criminal records, and investigations by Child Protective Services. Other evidence could include opinions from experts and a guardian ad litem.

If you want to seek sole custody of your child, contact an experienced Monmouth County child custody attorney. It is difficult to prove that a parent is unfit. You need an attorney with substantial experience handling child custody cases on your side when you go into court seeking sole custody.

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm in Red Bank. NJ at (732) 747-1882 or contact us online today.
You can also visit our law firm at 157 Broad St #111, Red Bank, NJ 07701.

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