Are You Facing Child Relocation in the State of New Jersey?
Do you want to prevent your former spouse from moving out of New Jersey or to a distant part of the state with your child? Are you the custodial parent who wants to make such a move?
When people who have children end up divorcing each other, one of them might want to relocate to a different part of the country. But with underage children involved, having one parent move might not work. The lawyers at The Montanari Law Group fight for the parent who is faced with the loss or diminishment of their role as a parent because their former spouse wants to move away with the children. Also, when moving is in the best interest of the child, we can help you make it happen.
New Jersey state law says that a parent cannot move underage children out of this state without the agreement of the non-custodial parent. But the custodial parent has the right to try to convince the court to issue an order that permits the move. In other words, if the parent with custody of the child wants to relocate outside of New Jersey with him or her and the non-custodial parent doesn’t want the move, the custodial parent must apply to the court and request an agreement to transfer.
Is the Move Being Requested for Positive Reasons?
The court weighs two factors when it receives an application to move with a child:
- Is the desire to relocate born out of a desire for revenge or some other lesser motive, or is it a reasonable request made in good faith?
- Will the minor’s well-being suffer impairment by the move?
The custodial parent who wants to move, even if it’s within New Jersey but to a far-away part of the state, will have to show the court that there is a positive reason for the request. Here are some commonly stated reasons:
- to be near the custodial parent’s larger family, for more moral support;
- advancement at work;
- a chance to go to college.
Submitting a Parenting Proposal
Along with demonstrating a positive reason for moving, the custodial parent must submit a parenting proposal. It must be pragmatic and provide practical information as to how the custodial parent will make sure the noncustodial parent can still spend plenty of quality time with the child. Therefore, it must show how the non-custodial parent might continue to talk with the child, how they’d travel to see the child, etc.
Fighting a Transfer
To fight the proposal, the noncustodial parent would submit a document called “a responsive certification.” This would point out any impracticalities in the custodial parent’s proposal. The rebuttal must present convincing arguments as to why the custodial parent’s request should be rejected.
If your former spouse has applied to transfer, even to an inconvenient alternate location within the state, you need to get in touch with an attorney with expertise who is knowledgeable in child transfer and custody laws in New Jersey to help you prepare your best possible rebuttal.
How the Court Decides
Family courts in New Jersey deliberate very carefully on requests to transfer a child. To make well-informed decisions, the courts consider twelve questions known as the Buares Analysis. Here are the questions:
- why has the custodial parent has asked for this transfer;
- why does the noncustodial parent object to it;
- should previous interactions between the two parents have an influence on the case;
- how do wellness, learning, and sports and relaxation opportunities in both locations compare with each other;
- will the child’s unique abilities and needs be supported;
- the practicality and workability of the custodial parent’s proposal for allowing the child and the noncustodial parent to have a thriving bond;
- will the custodial parent likely work after the transfer to nurture the bond between the noncustodial parent and the child;
- how will the relocation affect the larger families of both parents;
- if the child is old enough, his or her feelings about where to live;
- does the child consent to the move if he or she is in or entering their last year of secondary education;
- does the noncustodial parent have the means to transfer near the child;
- any other factors that the court thinks will affect the child’s wellbeing.
Once the Court Decides
If the court concludes that the request to transfer was, in fact, reasonable and that it will not be detrimental to the minor, then it will likely allow the transfer and will order the parents to develop a new visitation schedule.
If the court decides, however, that the request was not reasonable or that the move would be detrimental to the minor’s wellbeing, it will rule against the request. If the custodial parent decided to transfer despite the decision, the minor would have to stay in New Jersey. The noncustodial parent would switch legal status to become the custodial parent.
In the Case of Shared Custody
If the parents had previously arranged to be co-equal custodial parents and one of them wants to transfer, then a hearing would be needed to settle which one would become the custodial parent. This would occur before the Buares Analysis was done.
Contact a Little Falls Child Relocation Lawyer
Whether you are a custodial parent who wants to transfer—or a noncustodial parent who is concerned that the custodial parent might transfer your children out of state or to a distant place in New Jersey—in either case, we can help.
The Montanari Law Group has the knowledge to tackle custody and parental transfer cases.
To gain assistance with this, child custody arrangements and issues, and other family law matters, call us at (973) 233-4396 to schedule a free consult with us. We will apply our depth of experience and skill in laws affecting minors to help you in your situation.