Custody Trial Process in New Jersey

For many people, child custody proceedings are their first real glimpse of the courtroom experience. It won't take long to realize that televised legal dramas that attempt to depict what custody cases are like are over-exaggerated and oversimplified versions of what actually goes on. In reality, the custody court process is complex. To prove that you're suitable as a guardian, it'll take more than an emotional statement about how much you love your child. You'll need an effective presentation of your case and arguments.

Some people attempt to brave custody proceedings alone and fight without legal representation. But if you want favorable results, this isn't the best approach to a custody case. Since child custody cases are intricate and unpredictable, one seemingly small misstep can set you back a great deal. For some, a mistake has unfortunately led to them losing their rights as a parent. Don't let this happen to you. Contact experienced attorney Joseph D. Lento today.

If you have any more questions about how you can put your child custody case behind you, read on. We'll explore what the child custody trial process entails in New Jersey.

The Process

The custody trial process in New Jersey tends to last anywhere from three to nine months. It all depends on how quickly the court schedules a trial. 

The Custody Complaint

The process begins with drafting a complaint and filing with the county courthouse or family court. Call the courthouse or check its website for the location. 

The complaint must contain the type of custody you're seeking, a parenting plan, and any serious issues regarding parenting time or custody. 

Mandatory Mediation 

Mandatory mediation is a process that is intended for parties to reach an agreement before trial ensues. This process is only available for couples who have experienced domestic violence. 


Each side will present evidence in the case in front of a judge. He or she will hear testimony and review evidence from the parties to ultimately decide on a suitable accommodation. The court makes child custody decisions based on the best interest of the child. The law lists a number of factors for reference. Some of these factors include:

  • The parents' ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child
  • The quality and continuity of the child's education
  • The geographical proximity of the parents' homes
  • The parents' employment responsibilities
  • The history of domestic violence
  • The parent's willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse etc. 

New Jersey Family Law Attorney 

With all the things to consider in a child custody case, predicting an outcome in a hearing is pretty difficult. This is why it's important you retain a qualified family law attorney who has extensive knowledge of the state's process and has helped families get an arrangement that reflects the best interest of their child. To ensure your parental rights are protected, and your contributions are considered, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.

Contact a Family Law Attorney Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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