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Jurisdiction in NJ Child Relocation Cases

Jurisdiction in NJ Child Relocation Cases

In the recent NJ Appellate Division case White v. Douglas, the Appellate Court considered the issue of New Jersey’s jurisdiction in child custody and child support cases where one parent desired to relocate a child out of the state. The defendant father, appealed a Superior Court judge’s order that relinquished New Jersey’s jurisdiction with respect to child custody and child support when his ex-wife moved to relocate their child to the state of Georgia. The Appellate Court held that the lower court’s order was entered in error, as the custody dispute including the Plaintiff mother’s petition to move the child out of the state, was still on-going. According to the court, under the New Jersey Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, New Jersey maintains jurisdiction over the child custody dispute until neither the child nor the parents have a “significant connection with this state.” Further, in order for the Plaintiff to gain the right to move the child to Georgia over the Defendant’s objection, she would have to meet the standards set in Baures v. Lewis, the current guiding case law on the matter of child relocation. According to Baures, the party seeking to remove a child out of the state over the other parent’s objection must present evidence that 1) there is a good faith reason for the move and 2) that the move will not be against the child’s interests. If these threshold factors are met the opposing party will have the opportunity to present evidence that reflects that the request for removal was either not in good faith or against the child’s interests. If you anticipate that you will become involved in a child custody dispute or a dispute over the relocation of a child out of the state it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about child custody, divorce, parenting time, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com and NJCivilUnionLaw.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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