Common Fathers’ Rights Issues in New Jersey

When you are a dad going through a divorce, paternity action, or separation, you may worry about the Court giving the child’s mother an unfair advantage or preference. Regardless of what anyone might do or say to the contrary, you and your child’s mother have equal rights to spend time with and parent the children you have together. The law requires the Court to apply an unbiased legal analysis based on the children’s best interests to decide custody and support issues rather than automatically giving the mom everything she asks for.

Moskowitz Law Group is no stranger to addressing common fathers’ rights issues in New Jersey.  We fight back against any argument that the mom is the only fit parent for the children when the father is just as fit and capable of a parent. Our fathers’ rights attorneys are steadfast advocates who have the knowledge and training to stand up and push back when a dad’s right to the care and companionship of their children is threatened. We understand what you may be going through during this time and are here to help you through it skillfully and productively.

What Are a Dad’s Rights to Custody of Their Children?

As set forth in N.J.S.A. § 9-2-4, “in any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal.” The same Statute states that “it is in the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.” Under the Statute, the Court may order joint custody to both parents, which is where both parents share in all aspects of raising a child, including major decision-making and sharing time with the child. There are two kinds of custody in New Jersey. Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make major decisions impacting a child’s welfare. Physical custody determines whether the child will spend equal time with both parents, primarily live with one parent and have visitation with the other parent or spend all their time with one parent to the exclusion of the other parent. Parents with joint legal custody have an equal say in all matters concerning the child’s education, religious upbringing, and medical decisions. Parents with joint physical custody also spend equal time with their children.

In some situations, the Court may decide it is in the best interests of the children for one parent to be the custodial parent. The child lives primarily with the custodial parent and has visitation with the non-custodial parent. In very rare cases, the Court may order sole legal custody and/or sole physical custody. A parent with sole legal custody will have the only or final say on major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. A parent with sole physical custody will have the child all the time and the other parent will not see the child at all. Sole custody is generally reserved for cases where one of the parents is unfit to care for or be involved in decision-making for the child.

Despite the law granting parents equal rights in custody cases, in practice, the father may run into problems with unfounded bias toward the mother. A fathers’ rights attorney can step in and vigorously defend the dad’s wishes and right to be actively involved in their children’s lives.

Do Fathers Always Have to Pay Child Support?

Under New Jersey law, a child has a right to be financially supported by both their parents, including parents who are the non-custodial parent. Child support is another area where a dad may find themselves in an unfair situation, leaving them with unmanageable monthly payments to the mother. Court Rule 5:6A, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, and N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) dictate who pays child support, who receives it, and how it is calculated. N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67 and certain case law dictate when a child is emancipated and their right to child support ends.

The Court should calculate child support based on the factors outlined in the Court Rule, Child Support Guidelines, and Statute rather than simply making the father pay more just because he is the father. Unfortunately, certain judges presenting a preference toward mothers over fathers is just one of the many issues a dad may face in New Jersey. A battle-tested fathers’ rights attorney can equip dads with the knowledge and tools they need to defend their right to pay the correct amount of child support under the law rather than whatever amount the mom deems fit.

Call the New Jersey Team at Moskowitz Law Group for Help with Fathers’ Rights Issues

As a dad, you have the same rights as moms do to see your children, interact with them, and participate in their upbringing. Unless the Court says otherwise because the best interests of the children call for a different result, you should be able to share in the custody and pay only a fair share of the financial burden of caring for your children. When you are worried about the Court or your children’s mother preventing you from seeing your children, making you pay an unfairly high amount of support payments, or showing bias in favor of the mom for any other reason, it is time to talk to a knowledgeable family law attorney.

Our team has helped many dads combat many of the common fathers’ rights issues in New Jersey so they can preserve their ability to care for and raise their children. Reach out to our firm today to schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your concerns.

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