If you are a stay at home parent, you may be wondering if this will give you an edge in your divorce or custody case. After all, you’ve been your child’s primary parent and have likely been the person most involved with school, sports, activities, your child’s friends, medical care and more.
New Jersey courts make decisions about custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. There is no preference given to parents of either sex and there is no stated preference for stay at home parents. However, because the court uses a best interests analysis to decide custody, being a stay at home parent can in fact be an important factor in your favor. Courts must consider the relationship the child has had with both parents, the amount of time the child spent with each parent before the divorce or separation, the type of custodial responsibilities assumed by each parent, and the parents’ employment responsibilities. All of these factors will mean that the court will consider the fact that you are a stay at home parent and it will likely be a very persuasive fact. However, the court will look at all the other facts and circumstances in the case as well. In general courts prefer children to spend time with parents rather than caregivers, and stay at home parents tend to minimize daycare providers and sitters.
As a stay at home parent, you will want to talk to your attorney not only about custody, but also about your rights to child support and alimony, which will be an important part of your financial life moving forward.
DeTorres & DeGeorge handles divorce and custody cases in the Flemington and Clinton and surrounding areas of New Jersey. Call us today to discuss how we can help you with your case.