A parent's living situation could play a key role in how a child custody case is decided in New Jersey or any other state. A judge wants to know that a child will be safe while living with a mother or father. Therefore, parents can improve their chances of obtaining custody by showing that they live in a safe neighborhood or by moving to a safe neighborhood.
If a parent does decide to move, the new home or apartment will ideally be roughly the same size as the old home or apartment. It should also have multiple rooms so that both the parent and child can live comfortably and have their own personal space. A court may prioritize personal space if the child is not the same gender as the parent seeking custody. Furthermore, older children may have a greater need for privacy than younger children.
This may be especially true if a teenager and a younger child are expected to live in the same home or apartment with a parent. A judge will also consider a parent's ability to provide financially for a child when making a custody decision. However, this doesn't mean that there is an income threshold that a mother or father must meet. It is simply another data point that will be considered along with other relevant facts.
The best interests of the child are paramount in a custody case. An attorney may be able to provide guidance to those who want to make a positive impression on a judge. Parents may be encouraged to take a second job to earn more money or take other steps to make their children more comfortable while at their homes. If necessary, an existing custody order could be modified by a judge.