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Child custody and the character and fitness evaluation

by | Aug 1, 2019 | Divorce

While the financial ramifications of divorce can be significant, many New Jersey couples find themselves more concerned about something more important: their children. After all, the outcome of a child custody dispute can lay the framework for an individual’s relationship with his or her child post-divorce. When a divorce is contentious, this could mean that one’s ability to even visit with his or her child may be threatened. This is why it is usually of critical importance that New Jersey residents who are facing child custody disputes consider seeking legal guidance.

One tactic a divorce attorney may recommend in these cases is an evaluation of each parent’s ability to adequately care for the children in question. A court may order these evaluations as part of an investigation into parental fitness following failed attempts at mediation. The investigation may include an assessment of each parent’s character, financial stability, ability to pay alimony and child support, and home environment. Each parent’s criminal record may be checked, and the relationship between the children and any individuals who are residing in each parent’s household will be considered.

At the conclusion of the investigation, mental health professionals may make recommendations to the court. These recommendations can carry a significant amount of weight given that an unbiased third party to the case provides them. This is not to say, of course, that a parent cannot present evidence to support his or her position, even if it is counter to the investigation’s recommendations. In fact, a parent should utilize the evidence available to him or her to present the strongest case possible. This may even require expert testimony.

Failing to put forth strong legal arguments can have disastrous consequences for an individual’s relationship with his or her child. Fortunately, strong divorce attorneys stand ready to help New Jersey residents build the legal strategies they need to not only further their interests, but also to protect their children’s best interests.