Can My Child Have a Say in a Custody Decision?

complex child custody new jersey

You may not want to place your child in the middle of your custody battle. However, they may want to get involved if they have a preference for what the outcome is. Continue reading to learn whether your child can have a say in a custody decision and how one of the experienced child custody evaluation attorneys in Bergen County, NJ, at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, can work on your behalf.

Can my child have a say in a custody case?

If the New Jersey family court deems your child as mature enough, they may consider their preferences in your child custody case.

And with your child being mature enough, they may be able to understand whether one of their parents is an unfit parent. So, they may be able to make one of the following arguments to support their request:

  • One parent has engaged in criminal behavior in their presence.
  • One parent has used illegal drugs in their presence.
  • One parent has physically or emotionally abused the other parent in their presence.
  • One parent has physically or emotionally abused them.
  • One parent has a history of withholding them from the other parent.
  • One parent has an unsafe living environment.
  • One parent has neglected their educational and special needs.

However, if there are no signs of parental unfitness, the court does not necessarily have to follow your child’s request. At the end of the day, they are going to make a decision based on what they believe to be in the best interest of the child.

What other factors are considered for a custody decision?

Besides your child’s preference, the court will evaluate many other circumstances before making their custody decision. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Your and your former spouse’s current relationship with your child.
  • Your and your former spouse’s willingness to have custody over your child.
  • Your and your former spouse’s ability to physically and emotionally care for your child.
  • Your and your former spouse’s ability to financially support your child.
  • Your and your former spouse’s ability to offer a stable home environment for your child.
  • Your and your former spouse’s earning capabilities.
  • Your and your former spouse’s proximity from one another.
  • Your and your former spouse’s work schedule and lifestyle.
  • Your and your former spouse’s age and health.
  • Your child’s age and health.
  • Your child’s activities and current schedule.
  • Your child’s educational and medical needs.

For more information, contact one of the skilled child custody attorneys in Bergen County, NJ today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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