New Jersey places limitations upon the ability of a custodial parent to relocate with children outside of its jurisdiction. The "removal" statute, 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 and/or the children consent if they are deemed old enough.
When the parents do not share physical and joint legal custody, the burden is on the relocating parent to establish a good faith motive for the move and that the move will not be inimical to the best interests of the children. Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001).
The Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey dealt with the issue of relocation in the case of Baures v. Lewis. The Court established various factors to consider in determining whether to grant the custodial parent's application to remove the child from the jurisdiction over the non-custodial parent's objection:
- Reasons given for the move;
- Reasons given for opposition;
- Past history of dealings between the parties insofar as it bears on reasons advanced by both parties for supporting and opposing the move;
- Whether child will receive educational, health, and leisure opportunities at least equal to what is available here;
- Any special needs or talents of the child that require accommodation and whether such accommodation or its equivalent is available in the new location;
- Whether a visitation and communication schedule will develop that will allow a non-custodial parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child;
- Likelihood that the custodial parent will continue to foster child's relationship with the non-custodial parent if move is allowed
- Effect of move on extended family relationships here and in new location;
- If child is of age, his or her preference;
- Whether child is entering his or her senior year in high school, at which point he or she should generally not be moved until graduation without his or her consent;
- Whether non-custodial parent has the ability to relocate;
- Any other factor bearing on the child's interest.
When the parents share physical and joint legal custody, the burden is on the relocating parent to prove that it is in the best interests of the children that custody be transferred to that parent. O'Connor v. O'Connor, 349 N.J. Super. 381 (App. Div. 2002).
Given the complexities involved with Relocation cases, we advise you to contact one of our experienced family law attorneys at 908-735-5161 at Gebhardt & Kiefer today. We handle Relocation and family law issues throughout New Jersey.