After their divorce is finalized, many people feel inclined to start over, which typically includes plans to relocate from the Garden State to a brand-new location. Your ex may happen to be one of those people. However, if he or she is hoping to relocate, he or she will still have to adhere to child custody relocation laws. If your ex plans to move out of New Jersey with your child, please read on, then contact an experienced Bergen County, New Jersey relocation lawyer today.
Can your ex move away from New Jersey with your child?
Under N.J.S.A. 9:2-2, neither parent may remove children out of New Jersey without the consent of both parents, unless the court, upon cause shown, shall order otherwise. This means that your ex can’t simply leave the Garden State with your child. Until 2017, custodial parents found it relatively easy to move out of state with their children. The parent seeking to relocate had to show they had a legitimate reason for the move and that the move would not adversely affect the child. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court changed that when they decided Bisbing v. Bisbing, 230 N.J. 309 (2017).
What are the current laws for moving children out of state?
The New Jersey Supreme Court reasoned that the fairest way to decide the issue of removing a child from the state is to apply the same standard used in determining custody matters in general, i.e. what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. As a result of the ruling, the Court downgraded a parent’s desire to move to a secondary status. Additionally, they ruled that just because a move would not harm a child, that does not necessarily mean it would be in the child’s best interests.
How does the Court decide if it is in the best interests of your child to move out of New Jersey with your ex?
To assist a judge in making the “best interests” determination, state law lists several factors for the judge to consider, including:
- The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate when it comes to the child
- The parents’ past and present willingness to accept custody
- How the child interacts with its parents or siblings
- The presence, or lack thereof, of domestic violence
- The child’s physical, social, emotional and educational needs
- The stability of the home environment offered by the parents
- The parents’ geographical, financial and overall fitness to exercise custody
While you certainly have the right to appeal if a court grants out-of-state relocation to your ex, you should reach out to a skilled Bergen County, New Jersey family law attorney for help preventing an unfavorable outcome. Call us if you have any questions.
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If you are facing any family law matter, contact HD Family Law today to schedule your initial consultation.