Challenging Stereotypes: Can Men Get Custody in New Jersey?

Divorce is a life-altering event that affects both men and women, and it often raises questions about child custody. For many years, the assumption was that mothers were more likely to win custody disputes. However, times have changed, and the legal system now recognizes the importance of gender equality when determining custody arrangements. In New Jersey, the courts prioritize the best interests of the child, irrespective of the parent’s gender. In this blog post, we will explore the factors that influence child custody decisions in New Jersey and dispel the notion that men are at a disadvantage in winning custody disputes.

Understanding the Best Interests of the Child Standard

The guiding principle in child custody cases is the "best interests of the child" standard. New Jersey family courts consider various factors when determining custody, including:

  1. Parental involvement: The court evaluates each parent’s historical and current level of involvement in the child’s life, such as attending school activities, medical appointments, and extracurricular events.

  2. Parenting abilities: The court assesses the parenting skills and capabilities of each parent, including their ability to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs.

  3. Stability and continuity: Courts prioritize maintaining stability and continuity in the child’s life, considering factors such as the child’s current living arrangements, school, and community ties.

  4. Safety and well-being: The court examines the ability of each parent to provide a safe and nurturing environment free from any form of abuse or neglect.

  5. Child’s preferences: Depending on their age and maturity level, the court may take into account the child’s preferences regarding custody arrangements.

Gender Bias: Dispelling the Myth

It is crucial to recognize that gender bias in custody decisions is outdated and goes against the principles of equality and fairness. The New Jersey courts focus on the individual circumstances of each case and the specific needs of the child involved. They do not automatically favor one gender over another when awarding custody.

Over the years, societal changes have led to a more nuanced understanding of parenting roles. Fathers are now more actively involved in their children’s lives, and courts recognize the importance of maintaining a meaningful relationship with both parents, as long as it is in the child’s best interests.

Steps to Increase Your Chances of Being Granted Joint or Primary Custody

Regardless of your gender, there are steps you can take to present your case effectively and increase your chances of winning custody:

  1. Engage in active parenting: Demonstrate your active involvement in your child’s life by participating in their day-to-day activities and attending important events.

  2. Maintain a positive relationship: Foster a healthy relationship with your child by actively communicating and spending quality time together. Show the court that you can provide a loving and supportive environment.

  3. Seek legal advice: Consult an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the custody process, ensure that your rights are protected, and present your case persuasively.

  4. Document evidence: Collect any evidence that supports your ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for your child. This could include records of medical appointments, school activities, or any instances of active parenting.

In New Jersey, the courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody decisions, without any gender bias. Men have just as much opportunity to win custody as women, provided they can demonstrate their commitment and ability to meet the needs of their children. By dispelling the outdated stereotypes and focusing on the factors that truly matter, divorced fathers in New Jersey can work towards building strong relationships with their children and creating a positive future for their families.

At Netsquire, we believe in empowering couples going through divorce with knowledge and support. If you are facing a custody dispute or have questions about the divorce process in New Jersey, our team of experienced attorneys is ready to help. Remember, divorce is not an end but a new beginning, and with the right approach, both parents can create a bright future for their children. Schedule a free consultation to get started!

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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