A New Jersey parent who is facing a child custody hearing may be frustrated with the other parent, but it is important to not show frustration in court. A parent who appears angry or bitter may also look like a parent who is unwilling to cooperate with the other parent, and this could result in that other parent getting custody. Parents should also avoid trying to speak for their children to convince the judge that they are the best choice as the custodial parent. Older children are often allowed to express their preferences if they wish, but a parent should not attempt to make the other parent look bad by arguing that their child needs them more.
Family and friends may try to persuade parents that they should be asking for more support or visitation time, but parents should not allow themselves to be carried away by this. They should stick with the strategy they have worked out with their attorney, and if there is a reason to change it, they should discuss this with the attorney as well.
In fact, parents should avoid talking about their strategy with either the other parent or with friends who might share that with the other parent. Furthermore, parents should research custody laws and understand the process they are going through.
A judge will use the standard of the best interests of the child to make a decision about custody and visitation. This could mean that the parents will share custody or that one parent will have primary physical custody while the other has visitation rights. Parents may also want to work out plans for holidays and vacations if this is not included in the custody agreement. This agreement may address a number of other co-parenting issues as well.