How to Prove a Father Is Unfit in a Custody Hearing in New Jersey

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In most cases, New Jersey courts award joint custody of children to estranged parents. In rare cases, however, courts award sole custody, which means that one parent retains full custody over the child, including all legal responsibility for him or her. This occurs when the parents cannot agree on a custody plan beforehand and it is proved that one parent is unfit or unable to provide for the child based on the parent's prior history with the child and current circumstances.

  • Demonstrate that you have been the primary caregiver for the child. You can do this by proving you have been primarily responsible for the basic daily tasks of parenthood, including food preparation, education, supervision, medical care, and other basic provisions.

  • Speak with your child, if he of she is of age, and relatives to see if they are willing to testify that it is in the child's best interest to stay solely in your custody. Evidence or testimony of abusive or negligent parenthood on the part of the father or mother will be taken into account by the court, if it is available.

  • Compile evidence of abusive tendencies or negligent behavior on the part of the parent. This may include marks from abuse inflicted on the child, photos from the parent's house (if it is unsafe to live there), evidence of past drug use or a criminal background, or other things that indicate the parent will be a danger to the physical, mental, or moral well-being of the child.

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