Do stay at home parents automatically get custody?

A common misconception is that a parent who stays at home with the children will automatically win residential custody in a divorce. This is simply not the case. Previously, there was a presumption that the children should stay with the mother in a divorce but the reality is that each parent has equal rights to have physical custody of the children. The court will determine the custody case in the best interest of the child. They do so by considering a number of factors, including the employment status of each parent, the relationship between the parent and child, the level of stability of home life, and any special needs that the child may have. In addition, courts always want to make sure that the child is safe and will look into any history of domestic violence, criminal activity, substance abuse, and whether the parent is willing to allow the other parent to see the children.

If the court determines that the parent who stayed at home with the children is the better choice for the primary caregiver, they will rule in favor of that parent. Keep in mind that they are not solely ruling in favor of that parent because they stay at home. However, if the court believes the children would have a better home life and access to a higher quality of education with the other parent, the stay at home parent may not be granted residential custody. Each family’s situation is different. The circumstances will dictate the decision.

If you have questions about obtaining custody of your child, it is important that you speak with an experienced attorney who can assess your situation and help you protect the future of your family.

Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is honored to serve the people of New Jersey, including Sparta, Sussex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Bergen County with the quality legal services they deserve. Contact our firm for a consultation today.