List of Don’ts for Stay at Home Parents Seeking Custody

What Not to do as a Stay at Home Mom or Dad who Wants Custody in New Jersey

List of Don’ts for Stay at Home Parents Seeking Custody in New JerseyIn 1940, 92% of women were stay-at-home moms. By 2020, more than 70% of women are in the workforce, either full or part-time. In 2022, 50% of moms who chose to stay at home had at least one child under the age of 5. 65% of women and 55% of men agree that children benefit from having one parent stay home. The majority of parents polled who were asked why they chose to stay at home mentioned the exorbitantly high cost of childcare and the desire to be instrumental in their child’s successful development as their main reasons.

Stay-at-home parents give up their career opportunities to take care of their children at home. They do everything to keep the children well-cared for and the household running smoothly. Some of their duties besides childcare can include cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of the house, planning meals, helping children with homework, arranging playdates and birthday parties—the list never ends.  The younger the children, the more extensive the list of chores.  Once children are in school, the stay-at-home parent becomes a chauffeur, driving them to music lessons and sports activities.  There is never a dull moment for a stay-at-home parent.  Additionally, some parents choose to homeschool their children, which requires extensive planning for teaching and practice.

When you are going through a divorce as a stay at home parent, it can feel as if you are drowning.  Paperwork, financial records, and custody matters seem to drain the life right out of you.  It is hard to know if your decisions are the correct ones for a future you can barely see.  Having an attorney as a trusted confidant, adviser, and advocate will provide much-needed relief. Our team at The Montanari Law Group can shoulder the burden of handling the legal process on your behalf, starting with a free consultation. Contact us at (973) 233-4396 for immediate assistance and continue reading to learn more about what not to do when you are a stay at home mom or dad seeking custody of your children in a New Jersey divorce case.

Don’t Withhold Your Children from the Other Parent

What you never want to do is withhold your children from visiting the other parent.  The parenting plan in place is a legal order and must be followed.  If your co-parent threatens to keep the children, you must retain an attorney and notify the Family Court immediately. If the children are not returned as scheduled, contact the authorities.  Your ex could be charged with kidnapping and contempt of court. When visitation is interfered with, you can file a Motion for Family Access Order with the court.  The details of how the parenting plan was disobeyed are written on the form.  The noncompliant parent will receive a summons to go to court, and a hearing will determine whether or not the custody violation was committed with good cause.

Don’t Show Signs of Financial Instability

Bearing in mind that child custody is not based solely on economics, it is important for both parents to demonstrate that they can support their child. If you stay unemployed, the court may interpret it as an inability to be financially responsible for your child or a lack of interest in supporting them.  By making your own money, rather than depending entirely on the other parent for support, you demonstrate fiscal responsibility and a desire to care for your child’s needs. Keep track of all of the interviews and job applications you have done in case you need to show the court that you are making every effort to find work.

Don’t Forgo Establishing a Stable Home Environment

However, the court also emphasizes stability and relationships. One way to show stability that isn’t related to your job status is to establish a stable home. Keep up with the routines you had before the divorce, like bedtime stories and movie nights on Saturdays. Consistency provides a child with predictability and comfort.  Secondly, when things seem overwhelming, keep family and friends close and rely on them for help.  They can help take the kids to baseball practice or give you some alone time by taking them out to dinner. Lastly, stay involved in your child’s daily activities. Help them with homework, be their greatest fan on the sidelines, and demonstrate your willingness to put them first.

Don’t Run the Risk of Representing Yourself as a Stay at Home Parent

Demonstrating Financial Fitness for Shared Custody with the Help of Our Family Lawyers in NJYou are at a distinct disadvantage if your ex has an attorney and you do not.  Unless you have gone to law school, you are woefully unprepared for a custody battle in court.  If you notice your co-parent isn’t returning your calls, isn’t following the parenting plan you have agreed on while your divorce is being settled, or has become more aggressive and combative, you may be headed into a serious custody fight, which you shouldn’t participate in without expert legal advice. Sometimes, exes will bring skeletons out of the closet to use as leverage to obtain a custody agreement that is more to their liking.  If you have substance abuse or legal troubles in your past, going to court without a lawyer could leave you ill-prepared for this kind of ambush.

Don’t Rush an Introduction to Your New Partner

Introducing your child to a new partner isn’t a bad idea if you feel your child is old enough to understand that you are not going to replace their co-parent with this person.  What is a horrible idea is letting your new partner move in before the divorce decree has been decided.  Having someone who is basically a stranger to your child move in during the upheaval the divorce has caused can turn the tide against you in terms of custody if the judge feels you are not putting your child’s best interests first.  If your relationship with your new partner is on solid footing, they will understand the circumstances and act accordingly.

Speak to a Lawyer at Montanari Law Group

If you are a stay at home mom or dad who wishes to obtain full custody of your children, our attorneys at The Montanari Law Group can advise you of your parental rights and create strategies to achieve the best possible outcome. Our lawyers not only have strong communicative skills, but are also empathetic and observant listeners handling divorce and custody issues in Paterson, Woodland Park, Clifton, Wyckoff, Caldwell, West Milford, Haledon, Montclair, and throughout Passaic County, Essex County, and Bergen County, New Jersey. We will be sensitive to your needs but tough when protecting your interests.

For an initial free consultation, call us today at (973) 233-4396 or toll-free at (888) 877-7985 to discuss your situation.  You can also contact us online.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.