Post-Judgment Relocation Requirements Reviewed
- February 20, 2013
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Pursuant to Baures v. Lewis, the parent seeking to relocate to another state with the child has the burden of proof to show that there is a good faith reason for the proposed move and the proposed move will not be inimical to the child’s interests. In making a determination as to the removal, the Court must address the following factors: (i) reasons given for the move; (ii) reasons given for the opposition; (iii) past history of dealings between the parents; (iv) whether the child will receive educational, health and leisure opportunities at least equal to what is available here; (v) any special needs or talents of the child; (vi) whether a parenting time and communication schedule can be developed that will allow the non-custodial parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child; (vii) the likelihood the custodial parent will continue to foster the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent; (viii) the effect the move on extended family relationships here and in the new location; (ix) if the child is of age, their preference; (x) whether the child is entering their senior year in high school; (xi) whether the non-custodial parent has the ability to relocate; and (xii) any other factor bearing on the child’s interest. Based on a recent review of the Baures factors, the Court in Benjamin v. Benjamin held that it is not mandatory that a custodial parent have a specific job or promise of guaranteed employment in another state to relocate. It was noted that to require the custodial parent to show proof of a specific job or promise of guaranteed employment is often impractical as they do not even know when or if the Court will grant them the ability to relocate. Instead, the Court found that the practical and relevant question should focus on the custodial parent’s plan to provide a financially stabile household once in the new state. For that reason, the custodial parent’s relocation plan must include a look at their employment and work history. This would also include consideration of the long-term financial stability of the decision to relocate despite employment status. The Court further recognized that the financial reasonableness of quitting current employment and future economic stability, which can inimically affect the child’s security and emotional health, as the child’s interest must be at the forefront of the decision. In Benjamin, the court viewed the custodial parent’s longtime history of steady, stable employment, their having sought and found potential employers, their employment skills, their ability to present as articulate and intelligence and their history of responsibly caring for the child, both financially and otherwise, as evidence that the relocation request was reasonable and in no way irresponsible, impulsive or financially inimical to the child’s interests. If you are considering a post judgment relocation motion you will be addressing critical issues and should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on alimony, equitable distribution, child support, child custody, parenting time/visitation, adoption, dissolution of a civil union, marriage or domestic partnership, modifications or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com This blog is for informational purposes only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.