New Jersey’s custody laws have as their basis the fundamental principle that custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child with neither parent having a superior right to the custody of the child. However, one can say that the law of custody has gone through several distinct and interesting phases going back to the feudal days of England.

The prevailing view as to child-custody awards mirrors contemporary social, economic and moral values. And until recently, when behavioral experts and social workers emerged upon the courtroom scene, there were pendulum swings between extreme prejudice in favor of fathers and uncritical bias in favor of mothers, and custody awards were virtually automatic to the preferred parent.