Child custody matters become complicated when the parent with primary custody wants to relocate. Even if the move is for practical and financial reasons, like a job transfer or change, the non-custodial parent may object to the other parent’s move. The non-custodial parent may not approve of the move if it means they will not be able to see their children on a regular basis. For significant changes in visitation scheduling and child custody in New Jersey, the advice of an experienced family attorney is recommended.
Relocation for Divorced Parents in New Jersey
New Jersey only allows the custodial parent to relocate the children with the consent of the non-custodial parent or a court order granting permission. If the parent is not able to obtain permission from the other parent to move out of New Jersey, he or she must then file a motion in court asking permission to move. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will have a hearing to determine whether the move is being made in good faith or will adversely affect the child. During the hearing the court examines the factors listed in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001). Specifically, the court will consider:
- The reasons given for the move;
- The reasons given for the opposition;
- The past history of dealings between the parties insofar as it bears on the reasons advanced by both parties for supporting and opposing the move;
- Whether the child will receive educational, health, and leisure opportunities at least equal to that which is available here;
- Any special needs or talents of the child that require accommodation and whether such accommodation or its equivalent is available in the new location;
- Whether a visitation and communication schedule can be developed that will allow the non-custodial parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child;
- The likelihood that the custodial parent will continue to foster the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent if the move is allowed;
- The effect of the move on extended family relationships here and in the new location;
- If the child is of age, his or her preference;
- Whether the child is entering his or her senior year in high school, at which point he or she should generally not be moved until graduation without his or her consent;
- Whether the non-custodial parent has the ability to relocate; and
- Any other factor bearing on the child’s interest.
Once the court gives its permission to relocate many things must be determined. Most likely the parenting schedule will change with the non-custodial parent being given larger blocks of parenting time to accommodate the distance between the parties. Often, the parenting moving will be saddled with the expenses attached to transporting the child for visitation. After all, he or she is the one who requested to move away from the non-custodial parent. Included in the parenting time plan should also be communication with the child on a regular basis via email, texts and face time. Bottom line: Relocation should never interfere with the children’s relationship with their non-custodial parent.
Woodbridge Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Protect the Rights of Non-Custodial Parents in New Jersey
Non-custodial parents often feel powerless to make decisions for the health and well-being of their children. When it comes to issues of child custody of New Jersey, an experienced team of Woodbridge child custody lawyers will make sure that your valuable parenting time is protected. Call our Somerville, New Jersey offices today to schedule a free consultation at 908-575-9777 or complete our online form. Lyons & Associates proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey including Somerset County, Morris County, Union County, and Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham, and Morristown.