What Kind of Questions Will I Be Asked in a Child Custody Case?

Child custody cases are almost always challenging situations, as it is up to a judge to make nuanced decisions based on each family situation. To determine how to deal with a child custody case, a judge will usually ask certain questions to gather information about the case and determine how best to proceed.

As a general rule, the judge’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. Under New Jersey law, the courts specifically use the desires of the child in question as a factor when deciding on custody, as well as appoint a “guardian ad litem” to investigate what would be best for the child now and in the future. To gain an understanding of the child’s “best interests” and the situation, the judge may ask the following questions.

What is the Child’s Background?

In this context, “background” includes the child’s sex, age, and personal health characteristics, as well as any special needs or disabilities they have. These details are used to determine the general background of the case and how to best approach the “child’s best interests” and the situation.

What is Your Financial Status?

A parent’s financial status and financial resources could be used to determine whether a parent is capable of taking care of and financially providing for a child’s vital needs, such as food and shelter. Additionally, this information could be used to determine child support.

What is Your Communication with the Other Parent Like?

The level of communication between parents is often used to determine whether or not a judge can give both parents custody. In most cases, judges prefer to split custody between both of a child’s parents, as the courts generally assume that spending time with both parents best serves the child’s interests.

What Type of Custody Arrangement are You Seeking and Why?

This question is used to gather a sense of what the parties envision while considering the child’s best interests. Generally, courts prefer joint custody, as it allows the child to interact with both parents. However, sometimes a parent—or the court—may seek a sole custody arrangement on the grounds that this form of arrangement better serves the child’s needs.

Do You Have an Existing Formal or Informal Child Custody Arrangement?

A judge may ask this question to gain further insight into what has worked or not worked in the past if the party or parties have any existing arrangements. Judges generally do not want to interfere with arrangements that seem to be working well.

  • Some other factors that courts may commonly consider include:
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • The child’s own wishes if they are old enough to say so, a consideration known as “children’s wishes” under New Jersey law
  • Whether there is any evidence of any illegal drug/alcohol abuse by one or both parents
  • Adjustments to communities and schools, as well as proximity to other caretakers

Contact a Qualified Attorney to Get Child Custody Questions Answered

If you have further questions or concerns about a New Jersey child custody case or about New Jersey child custody laws, a knowledgeable family lawyer could help. For more information about the process of a child custody case, call one of the experienced family law attorneys at Moskowitz Law Group and schedule a free case evaluation today.

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