Unfortunately in divorce, child custody can become an issue. Too often, threats by either party may be that they are going to "take the kids away" from the other party. Generally, these threats have no basis in fact. Often, one need only look to the status quo to make a determination as to what is likely to happen in any custody battle. By status quo, the Courts and custody experts often look at what has been going on between the parties so far as to taking care of the children, parenting time if they are already separated and what is in the best interests of the children. A change of custody or parenting time must pass the burden that that change will be in the best interest of the children. If during the status quo, the existing arrangement, the children are doing well, it will be harder to argue for a change of the status quo, or a change of custody or parenting time. If you have an issue regarding child custody, please call Green & Associates, and have Michael Green, a divorce lawyer and divorce attorney, who is experienced in these matters review your case in a free consultation at our East Brunswick office at 732-390-0480 or Fort Lee at 201-242-1119.
In addition, any child custody battle will likely include the hiring of an expert to determine what is in the best interests of the child. It is a costly and lengthy process and in and of itself is a deterrence to those that seek to change the status quo. If for example, a party has been the parent of primary residence, has had the children for overnights, it is much harder to argue that they should not be allowed overnights in the future if the children are doing well during this time. If, however, a parent is incompetent, has a drinking or drug problem, a domestic violence issue that has relevance as to the children, these may be important new facts that can change custody.
In cases where a parent is incompetent, often supervised visitation is ordered until that party can demonstrate to the court that they are once again competent. For example, if a party has a drinking or drug problem, it is certainly not advisable that that party be allowed to drive the children and have them for overnights. In such a case, supervised visitation with an acceptable family member may be ordered by the Court.
Again, looking at the status quo is a large determinant in child custody matters. However, new facts can obviously change what may be perceived to be in the best interests for the children as to custody going forward.