Unveiling Misconceptions About Child Custody Agreements
Understanding the Truth Behind Common Misconceptions in Child Custody Agreements Can Make a Difference in Your Case
Determining child custody can be an extensive, often complex, and emotionally draining process. A child custody agreement determines the custodial and legal custody of your child, including who the child will live with, non-custodial visitation and parenting time agreements, who will have a say in your child’s upbringing and medical decision-making, and how child support will be handled. Your child’s best interest should be the priority for all involved, including you and your co-parent, your attorneys, and the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part judge assigned to your case (if handled through litigation).
While the twists and turns of coming to a custody agreement are real, there are some myths about child custody determinations that can cause you worry though they are not fully or even partially true. If you are engaging in the process of coming to a custody agreement with an ex, you need the expert representation of our trusted team at Montanari Law Group. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help clarify some frequent custody myths and develop the plan that’s right for you and your children.
True or False? Get the Real Answers about Child Custody in New Jersey
Mothers Always Receive Custody
False. While in the past mothers were often considered the primary caregivers and therefore more often received custody, this is no longer true. In addition to looking at a variety of factors to determine custody, judges look to maintain the status quo for a child, meaning keeping things as close to the way they were before as possible. Furthermore, research shows that children are socioemotionally and developmentally better off if they spend even time with both parents. A mother may not even receive custody if she was the primary caregiver if it is not in the child’s best interest for that to continue.
Custody Arrangements Require Litigation/Court
False. There are a variety of ways to come to a custody agreement without involving the New Jersey court system. Parents can, with the support of family law attorneys, reach an agreement about child custody and visitation, and an attorney can draw up legal paperwork for them to sign and submit to the court. This is the swiftest and most amicable route, if parents are able to collaborate. In more conflicted pairs, a mediator can facilitate the couple coming to arrangement. Or, an arbiter can hear the arguments of each partner, their attorneys, and associated expert witnesses and make a decision. This decision can be binding, in which the decision is unlikely to be overturned by the court, or it can be a non-binding decision. In cases in which disagreement renders alternative options impossible, a New Jersey Family Part judge will oversee the hearing.
If One Parent Does Not Pay Child Support, the Other Parent can Withhold Visitation
False. This is a dangerous misunderstanding that can cause legal troubles for the withholding parent. All terms of the legal custody agreement must be followed at all times. If one parent does not honor their legally binding duties, this does not give the other a free pass to dishonor theirs. If your co-parent has not paid child support, contact your child custody attorney right away, and they will walk you through the process of filing a complaint with the court. Withholding court-ordered visitation could lead to grave consequences for you.
Children can Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With
False. It is true that in the case that a child is old enough to make rational decisions, their opinion on custody may be solicited by the judge. However, this is just one of many elements that a judge takes into consideration when determining custody in the best interests of the child. If a child is under 10 years old but has a strong opinion regarding with whom they would like to live, a guardian ad litem may be brought in to help uncover the cause of this opinion and provide support throughout the court process.
Talk to a Little Falls Custody Lawyer to Get the Appropriate Information
A child custody attorney is an invaluable asset in any custody proceeding. Whether informal or formal through mediation, arbitration or litigation, an experienced family law attorney will make sure that your child’s best interest remains at the center of all discussions while protecting your right to a central space in your child’s life and decision-making regarding them. Our team at The Montanari Law Group prides itself on its successful handling of child custody cases in Caldwell, Clifton, Woodland Park, Haledon, Little Falls, Ringwood, Haledon, Montvale, and throughout Passaic County and Northern New Jersey. We’re on your, and your child’s, side. Contact us today at (973) 233-4396 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.