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What about the Kids? - The Best Interests Standard
"The best interest's of the child" determine most issues of custody and visitation. Although the standard is simply defined, proving "best interest" is most difficult and expensive. Opinions from varying sources guide the Court to determine custody and visitation. Once a significant issue of custody is demonstrated the Courts will generally require the parties and children to undergo evaluation by the county Probation Department.
Typically, the probation employee with a Masters of Social Welfare (MSW) will interview all the family members and obtain a history of both parents including but no limited to medical, psychiatric, drug, alcohol, levels of parenting skills, etc. The Probation Social worker will customarily obtain school records of the children which will include grades, attendance, child study team evaluations and other pertinent information. The children, depending upon their age and maturity, will be interviewed of children 7 years or older. The court has discretion to interview children below 7.
The Court must consider the following factors as enumerated in N.J.S.A. 9:2-4:
In order for permanent alimony to be awarded in New Jersey, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and one spouse must have become economically dependent on the other. This type of alimony allows the obligee to maintain the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed for the duration of the obligor's lifetime (unless the obligee remarries).
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