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Can a Father Get Sole Custody in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Family Law

If you are involved in a custody battle or are preparing to go through a divorce in New Jersey, the impact it will have on your ability to maintain a relationship with your child may be your top concern. Many fathers fear that they will not be treated fairly by the court or that preference will be given to the mother. Fathers also fear that they will not be given equal consideration for primary physical custody or sole custody of their child. The good news is that fathers in New Jersey have the same chance of getting custody of their children as mothers do. Statistically, fathers in New Jersey receive primary custody of their children 50% of the time. So, what do courts look at when making custody determinations?

Factors Affecting Custody

It is relatively uncommon for courts to award sole custody, as courts use the best interest of the child standard in making custody decisions, and it is presumed that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain a relationship with both of their parents. However, in some situations, it is in the best interest of the child for the court to award sole custody. This is the case if the mother has an ongoing substance abuse issue, a history of abandoning, neglecting, or abusing the child, or if both parents mutually agree that the father should have sole custody. If both parents reach a custody agreement that they mutually agree to, the court will generally approve it and order it into effect, provided that the court agrees it is in the best interest of the child. The court will agree with the parents’ decision in most cases, as parents are given some deference in deciding what is in their child’s best interest.

To succeed in obtaining sole custody, you will have to demonstrate effectively to the court that it is in your child’s best interest to do so. This will require presenting evidence showing that your co-parent is not equipped to care for the child or that doing so would have a detrimental impact on the child, as well as establishing that you can meet the child’s needs. For instance, if your child is preschool age (meaning they are home all the time) and you have a full-time job, it may be hard to show that you can properly care for your child and meet their needs unless you can demonstrate that you can work from home, or have immediate family or a strong community that can help support your child in their upbringing.

The court also favors decisions that require the least disruption to the child’s life and routine, so if you have already been serving as the child’s primary caretaker and granting you custody would not dramatically alter the child’s life, this will also be a point in your favor. Because many factors can impact decisions about granting sole custody, the best way to get an understanding of your chances and your best legal strategy is to consult directly with a family law attorney who can review the facts and circumstances of your case and develop a strategy accordingly.

Contact Giro Law to Schedule a Consultation Today

The experienced family law attorneys at Giro Law, located in Hackensack, New Jersey, understand how difficult child custody decisions can be, and are ready to support you in fighting for the best outcome for you and your child. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.