Editor's Note: Some aspects of child relocation law have changed since the release of this article thanks to the NJ Supreme Court decision in Bisbing v Binsbing, the details of which you can view here.
Morris County Child Relocation Attorneys
New Jersey family law courts understand just how important it is for children to maintain a relationship with both of their parents after a divorce. While these courts may not always grant joint physical or legal custody of the children, choosing to instead grant sole custody to one parent, they will almost always establish a visitationschedule for the children with their other parent.
However, one very common issue that often arises after a divorce is the need of one parent to relocate. If this parent is the custodial parent of the children, they need to first obtain permission from the courts for any relocation which is out-of-state, or greater than 100 miles from their current home. In order to gain this permission, several things must be demonstrated to the courts. Having an experienced Morris County child custody attorney to help you through this process can be of great benefit, as your attorney will understand exactly what kind of information the courts require, and how to best present it to them.
Below are some of the factors a Morris County child custody court will consider when ruling on a child relocation petition.
The Distance of the Relocation
As previously mentioned, relocation petitions are generally filed when the relocation in question is out-of-state, regardless how far that is in terms of distance, or when the move is 100 miles or more. A move within your county or a neighboring town generally do not require a relocation hearing, and most family law courts will not allow the noncustodial parent to contest such a move.
Reasons for the Relocation
You and your Mendham child custody attorney must be able to show a valid, good-faith reason for your relocation request. You cannot relocate just because you feel like it, or even worse, if you wish to limit your ex's parenting time with your children. Instead, you must be able to show that the relocation is for a new employment opportunity, a remarriage, a benefit to your health, or better educational opportunities for your children. Depending on the exact circumstances, different documentation may be necessary to present in order to prove your reasons for the relocation request.
Ability to Accommodate the Other Parent in the Relocation
Another important factor a Morris County child relocation court will consider is the ability of the other parent to adapt to the proposed relocation. They may ask whether it is possible for that parent to also relocate along with the children. If this is not possible, they may then request that the existing child custody order be modified in order to take into account the new location of the children. This may mean extended summer stays with the other parent, rather than weekly visits if the distance of the move prohibits such regular visits.
Both parents may wish to consult with an experienced Mendham child custody attorney in such a circumstance in order to help them modify their child custody agreement in a fair and reasonable manner, while protecting the parental rights of both parents.
Impact of the Relocation on the Children
One final critical aspect of a child relocation hearing is the impact the court believes the proposed relocation will have on the children themselves. Will they be closer or further from extended family? Will their educational needs to better or worse supported, do the children have special needs which can be filled in either of these locations?
It is quite possible that, even if you and your Mendham child relocation attorney can give a good reason for the move, take your ex's parental needs into account, and provide all of the necessary documentation and evidence, if the court believes the relocation will negatively impact the children's development, or to not be in the child's best interest, they will deny the relocation petition. This is another important reason to retain experienced legal counsel to help you present your case. Your child relocation attorney can research the educational and extra-curricular activities available to your children in your new location, and help you present an effective and compelling case for your relocation petition.
Illegal Child Relocations
It is important to remember that, if you are the custodial parent, you cannot relocate with your children out-of-state or a significant distance from your previous home (generally 100 miles) without permission from the court. Doing so may drastically impact your existing child custody agreement. Courts have the authority to modify your child custody rights, and if they believe your actions are actively harming your children's relationship with the other parent, they most likely will take action.
If you are a parent, and your children have been relocated without your permission or the permission of the courts, your best course of action is to speak with an experienced Morris County child custody attorney, and file a protest with the courts. As already noted, courts firmly believe that children need to develop a relationship with both parents after a divorce, and if your parental and visitation rights are being denied, courts will take action to ensure you and your children are capable of maintaining a beneficial relationship.
Contact our Morris County Child Relocation Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Mendham, Chester, Chatham, Mt. Olive, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area with all types of child custody issues, including child relocation.
Our firm focuses on providing knowledgeable, attentive, effective, and compassionate legal counsel to all of our clients. By keeping you informed and involved throughout the legal process, we can best understand your exact needs and concerns, and take the legal actions necessary towards securing the outcome you need and deserve.
To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child relocation or child custody needs, please contact us online, or through our Morristown office at (973) 975-4043.