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Can I Get Awarded Child Custody as a Stay-at-Home Dad?

Child Support Modification Attorney | Jeffrey M. Bloom West New York, NJ

Can I Get Awarded Child Custody as a Stay-at-Home Dad?

Over the past few decades, child custody laws in New Jersey have become increasingly gender neutral. Whereas years ago the mother was the most common parent to receive primary custody, the court will now decide child custody issues based on what is in the best interests of the child. In many instances, this means awarding custody to the parent who is the main caregiver. When there is a stay-at-home parent, this person will often be considered the primary caregiver.

More often than not, the stay-at-home parent is still the mother. However, there are a growing number of situations where the father stays home with the kids and the mother works. In these cases, if both spouses are competent, loving parents, then the father should be awarded child custody. However, that may not always be how the courts rule.

There is still strong cultural pressure for mothers to fight to be awarded primary residential child custody, regardless of whether it is in the best interests of the child. Therefore, you may be in for a difficult custody battle even if you are a stay-at-home dad and spend more time raising the children than your spouse.

There are some important steps that a stay-at-home father should take in order to increase the chances of being awarded primary residential custody of the children:

  • Be personally involved in all aspects of the children’s lives. Know what is going on at school, with your children’s friends, extracurricular activities, and any medical issues that exist.
  • Know your children’s schedules, and be present for as many parent-teacher conferences, doctor appointments, athletic activities, and other extracurricular events as possible.
  • Always make an effort to ensure your spouse is included in these events as well. This is very important. The courts will be hesitant to award custody to a parent that tries to exclude the other parent from their children’s lives.
  • Maintain a strong, loving, and caring relationship with your children. Ultimately, it is in your children’s best interests to be with the parent that has this type of relationship with them.

If you need assistance with a child custody matter, please contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Bloom today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in West New York, and throughout Bergen, Ridgewood, and Hudson Counties, New Jersey.

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