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When a couple with children gets divorced, they must determine custody. Child custody can be a difficult decision to make because parents often have strong and differing opinions when it comes to what is best for their children. As a result, the decision is often left up to the court. New Jersey courts believe a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents and will work to make that happen. But, sometimes a parent is deemed unfit and is not awarded custody, or loses custody. Read on to learn more about losing custody in New Jersey.

How is Custody Determined?

When a court is making a decision about child custody, they will examine the following factors:

  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • The stability each parent can provide the child
  • Whether or not the parents are willing to accept custody
  • What the child needs
  • The child’s safety
  • History of abuse
  • Both parents’ fitness
  • The geographical proximity of both parents’ homes
  • The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age

Why do Parents Lose Custody?

Some reasons that parents will not be awarded custody, or will lose their custody rights include:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse of the child
  • Mental/emotional abuse of the child
  • Domestic violence
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Child abduction
  • Unwillingness to co-parent

Can I Get Custody Back?

Losing custody can be devastating for both you and your child, but it does not have to be permanent. If you have lost custody of your child, you will want to contact a dedicated family law attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will work with you to regain custody of your child. If you have lost custody, it is for a reason, so addressing this reason and proving that it is no longer an issue will be necessary. For example, if you lost custody due to drug abuse, you may need to partake in a program to combat drug use. It is important to remember to be patient, work with your attorney, and follow all court orders.

If you have lost custody, contact our firm today. We are here to help you with all of your family law matters.


Here at McNerney & McAuliffe, we understand how confusing certain legal matters can be, which is why we are here to provide clients from all walks of life with the experienced, compassionate legal guidance they need. If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, you can turn to us. Contact McNerney & McAuliffe today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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