Relocation Attorneys in Passaic County, NJ
Serving Families across Wayne, Clifton, Woodland Park, West Milford, Passaic County, and New Jersey
Any time the parents of children divorce or dissolve their legal relationship, one of the most difficult issues that will need to be decided is that of child custody and visitation. There are a great many types of child custody and visitation agreements possible for every situation, but as a general rule of thumb this decision will be made considering the situations of each parent, and with the legal understanding that any decision regarding children in New Jersey should be made based on the best interests of the children involved, and those best interests involve having as close a relationship as possible with both parents.
However, many times after a divorce, one parent may wish to relocate, either out-of-state or to another area of New Jersey. This can be for a variety of different reasons, but the most important aspect of this relocation is what will happen to the children and the existing child custody agreement?
At The Law Office of Del Sardo & Montanari, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping parents across Wayne, Clifton, Woodland Park, West Milford, and the greater Passaic County area with exactly this question. We have represented parents on both sides of a relocation conflict, and our goal has always been to secure the outcome that both meets the needs of our clients, as well as the best interests of the children involved.
Contact our firm today to discuss your relocation request, your family’s unique situation and needs, and your child custody options moving forward in a free and confidential consultation.
Child Relocation Requests Out-of-State, Woodland Park Child Custody Attorneys
In order for any parent to relocate out of New Jersey with their children, they will need to obtain court approval before doing so. Thanks to the August 2017 NJ Supreme Court decision in Bisbing v Bisbing, all out-of-state child relocation requests are now decided exclusively on the best interest basis for the children involved, regardless of the type of custody that either parent currently has.
Before being allowed to request removal of children out-of-state, relocating parents must first demonstrate to the court that their intended move has “good cause”, determined by N.J.S.A. 9:2-2. Some of the traditionally accepted “good causes” include:
- Being closer to other family members or sources of support
- In order to receive specific medical treatment available in the new location, or to avoid health risks in the current location, either for the parent or the children
- To protect the safety of the children or parent from some threat or source of harm
- To pursue a better employment opportunity or further education
- To live with a new partner or spouse
- To significantly improve the quality of life of the family, or to secure better educational opportunities for the children
However, if the relocating parent is unable to show “good cause”, or the court believes that parent to be acting in “bad faith”, they will deny the relocation request entirely. “Bad faith” can be when the relocating parent presents a reasonable good cause for the move, but the court believes that the parent is requesting this relocation simply in an effort to deny visitation between their children and the other parent, or as a way of harming or seeking revenge against the other parent.
If the relocating parent can present good cause for their move, and that their request is in good faith than the relocation request will move forward. The other parent will be notified of the relocation request and given the opportunity to contest this request. Should they do so, the court will need to make a determination regarding a new child custody agreement and visitation schedule which will be based on the “best interest analysis” that will be performed. At the end of this best interest analysis, the court will typically appoint one parent as the primary custodial parent with whom the children will live, and this parent can either be the relocating parent or the non-relocating parent, depending on the determinations reached in the best interest analysis (which we will discuss further below).
Relocation within New Jersey, Passaic County Parental Relocation Attorneys
While New Jersey law regarding out-of-state relocations is very well established, relocations within the state itself are not very clearly defined. In general, if the relocation is within the general area of where the children reside, and does not place a great deal of strain on the existing child custody and visitation agreement, then the relocating parent does not need to obtain court approval for their relocation.
If however, the relocation has the potential to greatly complicate the existing child custody and visitation agreement, or the lives of the children involved, then court approval for the relocation will most likely be necessary. In these cases, the court will perform a best interest analysis, and modify the existing child custody and visitation agreement to reflect the changing circumstances of the parents, and the needs and best interests of the children involved.
If you are planning to relocate within the state of New Jersey, or your former partner is relocating within the state, contact our Passaic County parental relocation attorneys today to discuss whether or not court approval may be required, and your options for modifying your existing child custody and visitation agreement to reflect the in-state relocation.
What is the Best Interest Analysis in an NJ Child Relocation Hearing?
Any time a relocation becomes contested by another parent, whether it is out-of-state or in-state, the courts will perform what is known as a “best interest analysis” in order to determine how exactly the existing child custody and visitation agreement should be modified based on the pending relocation.
N.J.S.A. 9:4-2 outlines the specifics of the best interest analysis, but in general you can expect the court to interview both of the parents, adults with close relationships to the children involved such as teachers, caretakers, and doctors, psychologists in the fields of family and child development, and potentially even the children themselves. The courts will also consider a number of different factors when making their ultimate judgment, known as the Baures factors, and will weigh each of these factors differently depending on the exact circumstances of the family, the relationship between the parents, and any other relevant determining elements. These Baures factors include:
- The stated reasons for the relocation
- The stated reasons for the other parent to oppose the relocation
- The relationship between the parents, and how this relationship might affect both side’s position and motives
- The educational, health, and leisure opportunities available to the children in both locations
- The ability of both locations to support any special needs or talents of the children
- The possibilities for maintaining a close relationship between the children and both parents after the relocation
- The court’s opinion on whether or not both parents will encourage a relationship between their children and the other parent after the relocation
- The relationship between the children and extended family after the relocation
- Whether or not the non-relocating parent has the ability to also relocate
- The children’s own preference if the court believes they are of the age and maturity to express them
- Any other factor the court deems relevant to the relocation request
Following this exhaustive analysis, the courts will modify the existing child custody and visitation agreement in the way that it believes best suits the best interests of the children involved. In cases of far relocations or revocations of out state, the court will typically appoint one parent the primary custodial parent with whom the children will live, depending on which parent and/or location the court believes will best be able to provide for the best interests of the children.
Contact Our Woodland Park Child Relocation Attorneys Today
If you are seeking to relocate, or need to contest the relocation of a former partner with your children, having an experienced Passaic County relocation attorney on your side during this best interest analysis can be of enormous benefit. The family law and child custody attorneys of Del Sardo & Montanari are intimately familiar with best interest analyses and child custody modification hearings, and as such we are prepared to guide and represent you throughout the entire process. We can help you to ensure that your unique needs and concerns are properly heard and taken into account by the courts and that the court understands that your relationship with your children, and their best interests, are closely tied together.
With extensive experience helping parents across Clifton, Wayne, Woodland Park, West Milford, Passaic County, and throughout New Jersey, our family law team is ready to put their knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal service to work for you today.
To speak with our firm in a free and confidential consultation regarding your child custody agreement, child custody modification, or child relocation, please contact us online, or through our Woodland Park, NJ office at (973) 233-4396.