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Tips for handling a modern-day child custody dispute

New Jersey residents involved in child custody disputes may find that the traditional custody rulings have started to change. Historically, courts would award mothers full custody because mothers typically were the ones staying home and raising the kids. Mothers would receive child support and alimony from their ex-husbands while the ex-husbands would receive a few days of the month to spend with their kids.

However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 71% of today's mothers work outside the home. Of these mothers, almost 30% are the primary breadwinners and the fathers are the ones taking care of the children. Because of this shift, child custody cases have begun to change as well. Judges are now just as likely to award full custody to the father, or to rule that the best interests of the child may be joint custody. New Jersey couples going through divorce should be aware of this change and of what they can do to help their case when seeking custody of their children.

For example, parents should try to adjust their priorities and be more available to their children. A parent working long hours may consider reducing the workload or working from home after the children are in bed. A parent trying to argue for child custody should also make every effort to be present at a child's doctor appointments, teacher meetings, sporting events and similar functions.

Trying to see the ex-spouse as someone who also loves the children, rather than as an adversary, can also help produce a desirable child custody agreement because divorcing parents for whom this approach works may find that they can avoid court entirely. Out-of-court mediation is beneficial in child custody cases because the parents are able to work out the arrangements instead of a judge deciding. Often times they can come to an agreeable conclusion quicker and in a more cost-effective manner than going to court.

New Jersey parents involved in a divorce should be aware that the traditional outcome of divorce proceedings is no longer a reality. The best outcomes for all involved often come through mediation. Couples dealing with custody issues may want to seek out a family law professional to guide them through all of their options and protect their rights.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Child Custody and the Working Mom," Lisa Helfend Meyer, June 1, 2013

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