Relocating a Child Out of New Jersey Without Consent of the Other Parent
- September 15, 2013
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In child custody disputes, removing a child from the state of New Jersey to another state without a court order or consent of the other parent may subject you to sanctions and even kidnapping charges. According to N.J.S.A. 9:2-2, if a custodial parent wishes to relocate his or her child to another state, that parent must obtain the permission of the child’s non-custodial parent or must obtain a court order granting permission to remove the child over the non-custodial parent’s objection. The public policy behind the statute ensures that the non-custodial parent’s rights with regard to maintaining a relationship with his or her child are not infringed. The first question that a court must consider is the type of custody arrangement that exists. If the parents have a joint or true shared custody arrangement, then upon an application for change of custody, the court must make a best interests determination as set forth in N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c). Alternatively, if custody is far from equal, with one parent having only the typical every other weekend and one overnight per week arrangement, then the court must apply a two-prong test set forth by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001). First, the custodial parent must prove that the move is being considered in good faith and not simply to deprive the non-custodial parent of a relationship with the child. Second, the parent must prove that the relocation will not adversely affect the child. The Court in Baures listed twelve factors to be considered in determining whether the custodial parent has satisfied the two-prong test. The Baures factors include: • The reasons for the move; • Reasons for opposition by the other parent; • Parties’ past dealings in regard to parenting; • Whether the child will receive equal educational, health and recreational opportunities in the new location; • Any special needs or talents of the child; • Whether a reasonable visitation schedule can be arranged to permit the continued relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent; • The likelihood that the custodial parent will foster the relationship between the child and non-custodial parent; • The effect of the move on extended family relationships in the present and new location; • The child’s preference if of age and intellect to make an informed choice; • The child’s scholastic performance and year of matriculation; • Whether the non-custodial parent is able to move to the new location; • Any other factor the Court may wish to consider. Relocation of a child to another state will have serious and lasting effects on the child’s life and relationships, including the relationship with the other parent. If you are considering relocating with a child to a state other than New Jersey, or opposing such a relocation, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to learn your rights and options. For more information about child custody, parenting time, child support or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.