If you are going through a divorce or separation, one of the most challenging decisions you may have to make is regarding child custody. In New Jersey, the court's main priority is to ensure that the best interests of the child are met. This means that if you want to get sole custody, you will need to provide compelling evidence that it is in your child's best interest.
1. Understand the Different Types of Custody
Before you start the process of getting sole custody, it is essential to understand the different types of custody. In New Jersey, there are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about your child's life, such as education, medical care, and religion. Physical custody refers to where your child will live. Sole custody means that one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child.
2. Prove That Sole Custody is in Your Child's Best Interest
To get sole custody, you will need to prove that it is in your child's best interest. This means that you will need to provide evidence that the other parent is unfit or unable to care for the child. Some factors that the court may consider include:
- The child's relationship with each parent
- Each parent's ability to provide for the child's basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter
- Each parent's ability to provide a stable and safe home environment
- Any history of abuse or neglect by either parent
3. Hire a Skilled Family Law Attorney
Navigating the legal system can be challenging, especially when it comes to child custody. Hiring a skilled family law attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and they can guide you through the process of potentially getting sole custody. A family law attorney can also help you gather the evidence you need to prove that sole custody is in your child's best interest.
4. Be Prepared for a Custody Evaluation
In some cases, the court may order a custody evaluation. This is when a mental health professional evaluates each parent and the child to determine what custody arrangement would be in the child's best interest. Be prepared for this evaluation by being honest and open with the evaluator, and by providing any evidence that supports your case.
5. Stay Focused on Your Child's Best Interest
Throughout the process of getting sole custody, it is essential to stay focused on your child's best interest. Avoid getting caught up in emotions or personal grievances with the other parent. Instead, focus on providing evidence that shows why sole custody is the best option for your child.
Getting sole custody in New Jersey can be challenging, but it is possible with the right evidence and legal guidance. If you are considering getting sole custody, contact Sherwood, Johnson & Poles, a trusted family law firm. Our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the legal system and fight for your child's best interest. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.