Increasingly, divorced parents must move for jobs, to take care of elderly parents, or for other reasons. This situation can present complex issues if the parent is the primary custodian of a child and wants to relocate with the child to a state other than New Jersey. At Goldstein Law Group, our Monmouth County child relocation attorneys use both negotiation and trial advocacy skills to assist people who are seeking to relocate with children. A child custody lawyer may be vital to parents on both sides: those seeking child relocation and those who object to it.Seeking Permission for Child Relocation
In New Jersey, the parent of a minor child who was born in or has lived in the state for five years must get permission from the other parent or the courts before relocating out of state. Moves within the state also require permission or agreement if the new location is so far away that it requires a change in an existing child custody order or parenting plan. If the other parent will not sign a consent order, the parent who hopes to move with the child must file a motion in Superior Court. A non-custodial parent who wants to move out of New Jersey without the child, however, is not prevented from doing so.
The custodial parent making a motion to remove a child or children to another state must show there is a good faith reason to move. Good faith reasons can include a good job in another state or remarriage to somebody who does not live in the state. The parent making the motion must also offer the court a reasonable plan for how the child and non-custodial parent will have parenting time so that they can maintain a strong relationship. The plan may require the custodial parent to give up most major holidays so that the non-custodial parent can have time and include transportation information. These days, a parenting schedule may incorporate other ways of communicating, such as set times to Skype, make telephone calls, or communicate via webcam. If you are a non-custodial parent opposing your child leaving New Jersey, you will need to reply to the motion by giving the court reasons why the child should not be removed from New Jersey. Reasons often cited include limits on parenting time or concerns about the child's safety or health in the new state.
The court considers several factors when making a decision whether to allow the removal. These may include:
- The reason the custodial parent wants to leave;
- The reason the non-custodial parent wants the child to stay;
- The child's preference if he or she is a teenager;
- The past history of dealings between the parents and the court;
- The resources available to the child in each state, such as schools, medical care, recreation, or any special needs that must be met;
- Whether a schedule can be developed to ensure that the non-custodial parent still has the opportunity to have a relationship with the child;
- The likelihood that the custodial parent will continue to encourage the child's relationship with the other parent;
- Whether the child is going into the last year of high school;
- Whether the non-custodial parent is able to relocate; or
- The effect of the move on extended family relationships, such as with grandparents and cousins.
Broadly speaking, however, the court will consider any factor that affects the child's best interests.Discuss Your Needs with a Child Relocation Attorney in Monmouth County
If you or your former spouse needs to move by a certain date, you should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. The process of child relocation and modification of an existing child custody order can take time. Obtaining legal advice at the outset is important to make sure the issue is properly handled. In certain situations, mental health professionals may also need to be consulted regarding the effects of the move on the child. At Goldstein Law Group, our Monmouth County child relocation lawyers understand how difficult this issue is for families. We know how to navigate the judicial process to pursue the result that our client wants. Our firm represents individuals in Manalapan, East Brunswick, and Freehold, as well as other communities. Contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form to set up a free appointment with a family law attorney.