Mothers' Rights in New Jersey Custody Cases

In the past, women were given automatic preference in custody cases. This arose out of a presumption that women were the primary caregivers and fathers could not effectively parent on their own. Typically, a mother would receive full custody while the father had limited visitation rights.

However, times have changed and the law now acknowledges the impact of fathers on a child’s life. This has led to more gender-neutral laws especially when it comes to custody cases. Speak with an experienced custody attorney as soon as possible to discuss mothers' rights in New Jersey custody cases. 

Custody Categories

When it comes to a mothers' rights in New Jersey custody cases, there are two major topics, physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody applies to where the child lives the majority of the time. If there is shared physical custody the child must spend at least 35 percent of their time with each parent. Therefore, even a parent with visitation can have shared physical custody. Legal custody is when a parent has the power to make choices about a child’s religion, medical care and education.

If one parent has sole legal custody then that parent is the only one with the authority to make important decisions for the child. When there is joint legal custody that right is available to both parents and they have to work together.

Determining Custody and Visitation Arrangement

The legal standard used in New Jersey is the best interest of the child standard. Using a number of factors, a judge has to decide overall what sort of custody schedule would be in the best interest of the child or children.

The legal factors are:

  • Parents ability to work together
  • Whether the parents will follow a custody arrangement ordered by the court
  • Parental fitness
  • Proximity of the two homes
  • Amount and quality of time both parents spent with the child before and after the separation
  • Demands of a job
  • The number and ages of the children involved
  • The child and parent relationship and other important relationships, such as siblings
  • Past or current history of domestic violence
  • Whether there was physical abuse of the child
  • If the child is of reasonable age, their preference
  • The child’s needs
  • Stability of both homes
  • Keeping the continuity of education, while also considering the quality of education

There is no immediate preference given in regards to a mothers' rights in New Jersey custody cases. Some of the factors can be better for some parents. For example, if a mother decided to stay at home with the child they can argue that they have spent a majority of their time with the child and that it was quality time.

Another applicable factor can be that the child needs that parent home as they are used to them staying with them and for the sake of stability it would make sense to allow that parent more custody. Lastly, the relationship between the parent and child can be closer if one parent has stayed home.

Help from a New Jersey Custody Attorney

When you are facing a custody issue, you want a custody attorney that will best fit your needs. Alternatively, if you have been involved in a custody battle and are unhappy with the arrangement or have had circumstances drastically change you may have the option of modifying your custody schedule.

Child custody lawyers can also give you options on a mothers' rights in New Jersey custody cases. The first option is going to court and through trial to fight for your rights.However, if you and the other parent are not extremely high-conflict you can also negotiate and come up with a compromise with your lawyers.