Children and Divorce FAQ

Child Custody
  1. In New Jersey, what factors may the court consider when establishing child custody and parenting time?
  2. In New Jersey, what factors may allow a child to be emancipated?
  3. What factors does a court consider to decide whether a child may be relocated out of state by the custodial parent?
Child Support
  1. How is an amount for child support determined?
  2. What kind of need-based government assistance programs can children with special needs and disabilities qualify for?
  3. What factors are to be considered by Judges in order to determine the extent of the divorced parties’ contributions towards college & education?
Grandparent Rights
  1. What factors may a court consider when deciding the visitation rights of a grandparent?
In New Jersey, what factors may the court consider when establishing child custody and parenting time?

New Jersey Courts consider child custody arrangements based on many factors including the parent’s ability to care for the child, the child’s educational needs, relationship with parents and siblings as well as any past instances of domestic violence.

  1. In New Jersey there are many factors including;
    1. the parents’ relationship with each other and their ability to communicate and cooperate;
    2. the child’s relationships with his or her parents and siblings;
    3. any previous instances of domestic violence;
    4. the child’s needs and preferences;
    5. the ability of each parent to care for the child;
    6. the child’s education;
    7. the amount of time each parent has spent with the child;
    8. the work responsibilities of each parent;
    9. the age and number of the children;
    10. any other relevant factors.

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In New Jersey, what factors may allow a child to be emancipated?

Minor children can be emancipated from their parents in New Jersey by enlisting in the armed forces, gaining full time employment while no longer pursing an education.

  1. While not automatic, children are often emancipated upon reaching the age of 18, enlisting in the armed forces, working full time and no longer pursuing education or upon their marriage. However, a brief hiatus from education pursuits does not automatically qualify a child for emancipation.

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What factors does a court consider to decide whether a child may be relocated out of state by the custodial parent?

When a divorced parent in New Jersey seeks the Court’s approval to relocate out of state with their child, the court will first examine factors such as reasons for and opposing relocation, the impact relocation will have on the child’s education and health care and the effect relocation will have on the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent.

  1. The court examines several factors in making this determination, including:
    1. the reasons for the relocation;
    2. any reasons provided in opposition to the relocation;
    3. the history of the relationship between the parties;
    4. the child’s preference;
    5. whether the child will receive equal educational and health opportunities or necessary accommodations;
    6. whether the non-custodial parent will be able to maintain a relationship with the child;
    7. whether the custodial parent is able to foster the relationship between the child and non-custodial parent;
    8. the effect on extended family relationships.

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How is an amount for child support determined?

Child support in New Jersey is calculated using New Jersey’s Child Support Guideline formula that considers financial information from both parents including income, insurance, childcare expenses and other support obligations.

  1. Child support is calculated using New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines which is a specific formula requiring the disclosure of certain financial information from both parents. This information includes income, health insurance costs, work related childcare costs and details of other support obligations a parent may be required to pay or is currently receiving.

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What kind of need-based government assistance programs can children with special needs and disabilities qualify for?

In New Jersey, children with special needs whose parents are divorcing, may qualify for support from Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities.

  1. Children with special needs may qualify for:
    1. Supplemental Security Income;
    2. Medicaid;
    3. The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and others.

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What factors are to be considered by Judges in order to determine the extent of the divorced parties’ contributions towards college & education?

When determining the extent of a parent’s contribution to education expenses, judges in New Jersey consider, among many other factors, current living arrangements, reasonableness of the requested support, the ability of the parent to pay and the relationship between the paying parent and child.

  1. They are:
    1. whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;

    2. the effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;

    3. the amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;

    4. the ability of the parent to pay that cost;

    5. the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;

    6. the financial resources of both parents;

    7. the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;

    8. the financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;

    9. the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;

    10. the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;

    11. the child's relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and

    12. the relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child.

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What factors may a court consider when deciding the visitation rights of a grandparent?

Grandparent visitation rights in New Jersey are determined based on factors including the relationship between the grandparents and child, the motive of the grandparent who seeks visitation rights, time spent together, and the relationship between the child’s parent and grandparent.

  1. The court may consider many factors in making its determination, including;
    1. the relationship between the child and the grandparent;
    2. the motives of the grandparent in seeking visitation;
    3. the relationship between the child’s parents and the grandparent;
    4. the amount of time that has passed since the child had contact with the grandparent;
    5. the effect that visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents;
    6. the parenting time arrangement between the child’s parents and;
    7. any history of abuse or neglect by the grandparent.

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