New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Experienced with Parent/Child Relocation
If you are the custodial parent and you want to relocate out of state with your children after your divorce, you must have the consent of your former spouse. If you do not have his or her consent, then you must file an application with the Court seeking permission to relocate. In your application you must show a “good faith reason to move” (such as you are getting married and your fiancé lives in a different state or your job is relocating you to another state) and that the move will not be contrary to your children’s best interests.
If the court finds that you made these showings, then the court looks to the non-custodial parent to produce evidence showing that the reason for the move is not in good faith or it is contrary to your children’s best interests. Where parenting time is an issue, the non-custodial parent must produce evidence that the change in his or her visitation schedule as a result of the move will negatively affect your children.
In determining the above, there are several factors a court must apply in determining whether to permit removal. These factors are set forth in the New Jersey Supreme Court case of Bauers v. Lewis, 167 NJ 91 (2001). See also the article set forth on our web site entitled Relocating with Children - An Emerging Phenomena in the 21st Century.
However, if you and your spouse have a shared/joint parenting time arrangement and/or your spouse exercises the majority of custodial responsibilities, then the foregoing is not applicable because relocating to a different state is essentially a request to change custody. In these cases it is more difficult to move. You must first show a substantial change of circumstances to warrant relocating (i.e. to warrant a change in custody). Once this showing is made, you need to show that this change/relocation is in your children’s best interests.
Lastly, although you do not need your former spouse’s consent or a court order to move within the State of New Jersey, your former spouse can file an application to prevent you from moving. There is a New Jersey case where a custodial parent was barred from moving from Hawthorne to Toms River because the court found that the children would suffer from the loss of their non-custodial’s frequent contacts.Given the complexities of Parent/Child Relocation and Divorce in New Jersey, we advise you to contact one of our experienced Morris County divorce lawyers or family law attorneys at 973-627-7300 at Einhorn Harris today. We handle relocation and child custody issues throughout New Jersey.