Domestic violence is a central aspect in divorce cases in New Jersey, particularly when children are involved. Many people believe that its presence means the court will make an obvious ruling against the spouse accused of violence, this is not always the case. The even bigger problem is that believing certain myths about domestic violence actually hurts the families involved in their journey to emotional health and contribute to the continuation of the abuse, sometimes creating situations where a child who has been a victim or who has witnessed it develops PTSD, which can manifest even in adulthood.
New Jersey residents may have heard that on September 7, a nine-month child custody battle between Madonna and her former husband, Guy Ritchie, was resolved, according to reports. The former couple had been fighting for custody of their 16-year-old son, but details of the agreement were not released at the time of reporting. The couple had been divorced since March 2008.
New Jersey parents who are facing divorce might wonder what criteria are used to award custody. In some cases, they may be able to negotiate a custody arrangement between themselves. However, if that is not possible, it may be necessary to turn to litigation. There, in deciding who gets primary physical custody of the child, a judge generally looks at who the child's primary physical caretaker was during the relationship.
The provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act have been adopted in New Jersey and all other U.S. states. The intent of the act is to bring consistency to child custody laws across the country and reduce the number of interstate child custody disputes. Judges in New Jersey make child custody decisions based upon several factors, but the most important of these is what is considered to be in the best interests of the child or children involved.
In some child custody cases, New Jersey parents who are unable to see their children in person as often as is ideal might have some form of "virtual visitation" with the child. This is simply the practice of keeping in touch with children using technology that may range from the old-fashioned phone call to more up-to-date methods of contact such as Skype or instant messaging. Some jurisdictions refer to it as "electronic visitation" or "Internet visitation."
Some New Jersey parents who are ending their marriages may have heard of the concept of "parental alienation" and be concerned about whether it might affect their own efforts to get custody of their children. "Parental alienation" is the idea that one parent might deliberately turn their child against the other parent. This could include allegations of child abuse in an effort to make that parent lose custody.
When a New Jersey couple divorces, decisions about child custody and support might be reached through mutual agreement or imposed by a family court. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that men receive unfair treatment by biased courts that regard them as unequal parents. In most cases courts award mothers primary physical custody, which then gives them some power to dictate how and when fathers can interact with children.
Some New Jersey parents might take a long time to get divorced after their initial separation. They might be having second thoughts about the divorce, or their friends and family might be trying to persuade them to give the marriage another chance. In some families, religion may play a role in their hesitation to move forward with the process.
New Jersey couples who get divorced and who have young children could benefit from parenting agreements that clearly define their responsibilities. In addition to showing courts, schools, children and others that both parents are committed to active involvement, agreements serve as frameworks for disputes that may keep children from getting tangled up in arguments. In some cases, having a strong agreement might even make it easier to handle disputes out of court.
New Jersey parents who are divorcing may still be looking at years of negotiating with their former spouse while raising a child. If they can become good co-parents despite the divorce, the years ahead will be better for both them and their children.