HGTV celebrity Christina Hall recently made unwelcome headlines over her custody battle with her ex-husband. Her former spouse, also a TV celebrity, Ant Antstead, challenged their custody agreement and accused the TV personality of using photos of their son on social media to build her following and get more influencer contracts.
Going through a child custody case is frightening and frustrating. It is important to remember that you don’t have to go through the process alone. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can provide guidance and advice, helping to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. While the exes settled their custody battle in December, here are some FAQs about child custody agreements and modifications if you’re divorced or going through a divorce in New Jersey.
FAQs About Child Custody In New Jersey
1. Can child custody decisions be changed?
Yes, there are two ways to modify a child custody order in New Jersey. Suppose parents agree on the changes to an existing child custody order. In that case, they can present the modified agreement to the court order – either through a consent order or by filing a motion.
The judge usually accepts the agreement if the parents act in the child’s best interests. Upon approval, the judge will enter the consent order.
However, if parents cannot agree to a modification of the existing order, the parent wishing to alter it may submit a motion to the court. To modify their current child custody agreement, they must have evidence to prove a significant shift in circumstances.
2. Can children in New Jersey choose their own custodial parent?
In New Jersey, a child has no say in which parent they live with until they reach the age of 18. Before that age, the more mature the child, the more likely a Judge will consider the child’s opinion on their desired living arrangements. However, the court’s final say will always be based on what they believe is in your child’s best interests.
At the judge’s discretion, the judge may give the child a voice in their child custody preferences at age 14, but the court is not required to follow the child’s preferences.
3. What does the New Jersey court’s standard of the child’s best interests mean in awarding custody?
Courts prefer that divorced or separated parents remain involved in their children’s lives. They limit or place conditions on a child’s interaction with a parent only in cases of abuse or neglect (or any other situation putting the child at risk).
That’s because custody arrangements have one goal – to make a decision that is in the child’s best interest.
Common factors the judge will consider when making such a determination include:
- The specific physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child;
- The ability of the parent(s) to provide for those needs;
- Safety and stability of the home environment;
- The relationship between the child and the parent(s);
- Any presence of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect, and
- The physical and mental health of the parent(s).
5 Tips On Social Media and Co-Parenting in New Jersey
Below are some helpful tips for using social media during your divorce:
- Know Your Rights: If you are receiving alimony or negotiating a custody arrangement, you need to understand your rights and the laws governing your social media use. Consult your lawyer (before posting) if you’re unsure.
- Check Before You Post: Divorce is difficult, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by emotions. Before posting anything, take a few minutes to think it through. Do you need to post details about the proceedings, your feelings, or anything else related to the divorce?
Ask yourself whether the post will help or hurt your situation and if it’s worth posting. In most cases, it’s best not to use social media as it can be used against you in court. Please don’t delete your accounts, though, as it may be misconstrued as an inference of guilt.
- Don’t Post Negative Comments About Your Ex: No matter how angry and hurt you are, resist the urge to rant about your ex on social media. It can harm your divorce proceedings, and it can damage your reputation. Ideally, you should be respectful and accountable and minimize conflict as much as possible.
- Change Your Privacy Settings: Avoid being tagged in other people’s photos or profiles. If you belong to a “secret” group, keep in mind that other members may be able to see your posts and might share them with your ex, their attorney, or the court.
The same goes for blocking someone – your posts may still come up on their feed via friends. Even so-called private messages are discoverable, as are text messages. Do not assume that anything you say online is truly private.
- Monitor Your Children’s Social Media: You are responsible for what your children do and say on social media. Suppose they feel unhappy or uncertain during your divorce. In that case, they could post something that could lead to severe consequences for your custody agreement.
Going through a child custody case is frightening and frustrating. It is important to remember that you don’t have to go through the process alone. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance and advice, helping to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, so it is worth taking advantage of this opportunity to get a better understanding of what options may be available in your particular situation. During the process, a family law attorney can help you navigate the complexities of child custody laws and make sure your voice is heard. An attorney can also help negotiate an agreement that works for both sides and ultimately serves the best interests of your child. With the right representation, you can have confidence that your case will be handled in a competent and professional manner. No matter how challenging the situation may seem, having an experienced family law attorney by your side can make all the difference in achieving a positive outcome.
If you are facing a child custody case, it is essential to find an attorney who has experience dealing with these types of cases. Be sure to ask potential attorneys about their experience.
Should I hire a Family Law Attorney in New Jersey?
You and your family will benefit from hiring a divorce lawyer even if your divorce is uncontested. Several procedural requirements must be followed during divorce litigation, and failure to comply with them can negatively affect your case and child custody arrangements.
Call the office of Stolfe Zeigler New Jersey Family Law Group at 732-240-9555, or complete our contact form to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with a member of our team today.
We serve the entire state with office locations across New Jersey.