Determining who will have custody of the children when parents go their separate ways can be a very contentious issue. Fathers in New Jersey who are seeking full custody of their children should be aware of what steps they should take to have their children in their care.
The first step is to understand the distinction between full and joint custody. Full custody, which is also called sole custody, refers to custody in which the responsibility of the children belongs to one parent. With joint custody, parents have to share legal or physical custody of the children. Fathers should be mindful that the preference of the court is to give both parents joint custody.
However, there are cases in which the court may deem it appropriate to give full custody to one parent. Also, if fathers are able to demonstrate to the court that they are better suited to parent the children, it is possible to obtain full custody as the courts are not allowed to be biased against fathers. This does not mean that fathers should not be fully prepared to have to engage in a child custody battle if the mother has plans to pursue full custody of the children.
There are certain factors the courts will take into account when considering and awarding full custody rights. They include the paternity of the children, the relationship between the father and the children and the relationship between the children and their mother.
A family law attorney may assist parents with resolving disputes regarding child custody. The attorney may advocate on behalf of clients at child custody hearings to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. Litigation might be used to obtain the desired child custody terms or to have an existing child custody order modified to favor a client.