If a New Jersey parent petitions the court for sole custody of his or her children, the judge overseeing the case is going to ask what types of issues have prompted the request. In most child custody cases, the court believes children are better off parents agree to shared custody plans. If one or the other seeks sole legal or physical custody, he or she must show the court evidence that it is in the children's best interest to do so.
Relationships between divorced parents can be quite combative. One parent's assertion that the other parent is unfit does not necessarily mean the situation will meet the legal definition of the term. A parent who has an alcohol or drug problem may be someone the court would deem unfit for custody, depending on the circumstances.
In most states, unfit parenting has to do with failure to provide proper care, guidance or support for a child. Some situations may warrant supervised visitation. Judges carefully consider all pertinent factors before making such decisions. Although parents may provide testimony in court, the judge will make whatever decision the court determines is best for the children in question.
Because child custody cases involving unfit parent issues or accusations of abuse can be complex, a concerned parent does well to enlist the aid of an experienced family law attorney. A New Jersey attorney understands the ins and outs of the family justice system. Hiring an experienced lawyer is the easiest way for a parent to protect his or her rights.