Denial Of Petition To Relocate Child Out Of United States Is Appealed
- September 6, 2014
- No comments
In a recent Appellate Division child relocation case, Gertseva v. Stamper, the Plaintiff, Lidia Gertseva appealed from part of a Family Court Order from 2012 that prohibited either party from removing their daughter from the United States without the express consent of the other party or a Court Order permitting such a removal. The Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the lower court. The parties in this matter obtained a divorce in 2008. During their marriage, the Plaintiff gave birth to a daughter who was eight years old at the time of this litigation. In 2008, the Family Court granted the Plaintiff’s Motion which sought permission to relocate with the parties’ daughter to Russia and specified that the Plaintiff and the Defendant, James R. Stamper, would share joint legal custody over the child, New Jersey would retain jurisdiction over the child, and the that the Plaintiff would have to follow the parenting time schedule established in the Court Order. The Plaintiff and her daughter relocated to Russia for about one year before returning to the United States to live in Virginia. In 2012, the Plaintiff filed another Motion seeking to modify the Court ordered parenting time schedule and to name her as the custodian of her daughter’s passport. In the judge’s Order it was specified that the Plaintiff could take the child to Russia for the Christmas holiday and that the child’s passport “shall be provided upon request for travel when necessary to the parting travelling” with their daughter. Finally, the judge included that neither the Plaintiff nor the Defendant is allowed to remove the child from the United States without the written consent of the other parent or by Order of the court. The Plaintiff appealed from this decision. According to the Appellate Division, “More than financial contests, custody and parenting time disputes trigger the need for a family judge, acting as parens patriae, to prevent harm and protect the best interests of children.” Parish v. Parish, 412 N.J. Super. 39, 52-53 (App. Div. 2010). In its holding, the Appellate Court found that upon its review of the record, the Family Court judge did not exceed or abuse his parens patriae authority to act in the best interest of the child. The record reflected that there were recurrent disputes between the parties about their daughter’s travel out of the country and her absence from school. The Family Court judge’s Order reflected his concern with this, in that he narrowed the time the daughter could be out of the country and ordered when she would return to school. The Appellate Court noted that since the Plaintiff had returned to America for an extended duration of time and because she no longer resided in Russia, it found that there was no reason to revisit the issue of child relocation either by consent or by application to the court. If the Plaintiff desired to relocate to relocate with the child to Russia in the future, the Family Court would be capable of rendering a decision on the facts as they exist at that time. Disputes regarding child relocation can be of the most important in family law because of the substantial impact that decisions regarding these issues will have upon the lives of the parties and their children. If you are involved in a child relocation dispute it is imperative that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before proceeding. For more information on child relocation, child support, post judgment modification, divorce, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit Darlingfirm.com.This blog is for informational purposes and is in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.