Relocation with your Children after Divorce in NJ

Relocating with your Children after Divorce in NJ Thinking of moving out of the state with your kids? If you and your children’s parent are not longer together, New Jersey is very strict regarding your rights to move across state lines with your mutual children. It is true that the United States Supreme Court has long recognized every citizen’s constitutionally protected right to travel. (See Jones v. Helms 452 U.S. 412 (1981)). However in New Jersey, parents also have a constitutionally protected right to visit with their children. These two fundamental principles become conflicted when a custodial parent wishes to relocate outside New Jersey. In order for the parent to be able to move, they have to either obtain the non-custodial parent’s written consent to move or they have to go through the courts. This has to be done prior to actually relocating, as the courts frown upon cases where a parent moved before consulting the non custodial parents. N.J.S.A. 9:2-2, prohibits the removal of children of divorced or separated parents from the State of New Jersey without Court authorization unless both parents consent to this move. There are also circumstances where the child is deemed old enough to consent to the move, however there is set determination as to what age that child has to be. When parents cannot both consent and the relocating parent is forced to make a motion or an application to the court, the court will be guided by the factors set out in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001). In Baures, the New Jersey Supreme Court attempted to set out standards and procedures that trial courts have use when determining whether the custodial parent may relocate with the children outside the state. The moving party has the burden to first show that there is a “good faith reason for the move and that the child will not suffer from it”. In doing so, the Baures court listed twelve factors that should be considered, which include but not limited to the age of the children, a reasonable visitation schedule that the non custodial parent may have, comparison of the schools, family support, etc. Finally, once the custodial party has met it’s burden, the burden of proof shifts to the non-custodial parent to demonstrate to the court why this relocation would not be inimical to the child’s best interests. If you are considering relocating or if you would more information on the procedure and process, please contact our offices at 201-880-5563.

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