How to handle a move-away case in New Jersey

Understanding Move-Away Cases in New Jersey

Handling a move-away case in New Jersey, where one parent wishes to relocate with a child against the other parent's wishes, involves navigating complex legal terrain. The paramount concern in these cases is the welfare of the child or children involved. Under New Jersey law, the guiding principle in any custody or parenting time dispute is the 'best interest of the child.' Therefore, any parent considering a move must approach the matter with careful consideration and thorough preparation.

Initial Steps for Handling a Move-Away Case

Firstly, if there is an existing custody order, the parent intending to relocate must file a motion with the court for permission to move with the child. This motion should outline the reasons for the relocation and how it will impact the child’s best interests. Common reasons include employment opportunities, proximity to extended family, or educational advantages. The non-relocating parent then has the opportunity to file an opposition to this motion.

Gathering Evidence

Both parties should gather evidence supporting their position. This may include:

The relocating parent must demonstrate that the move is in good faith and not intended to disrupt the relationship between the child and the other parent.

The Legal Framework

In a landmark New Jersey case, Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001), the Supreme Court established factors courts must consider when deciding on move-away cases. These include:

In 2017, however, the case Bisbing v. Bisbing revised this standard somewhat, focusing more on whether the move represents a substantial change in circumstances affecting the child's best interest.

Negotiating and Mediation

Before reaching court proceedings, parents are encouraged to negotiate and potentially engage in mediation to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties and serves best for their children.

Court Proceedings and Final Orders

If no agreement can be reached, then litigation may be necessary. During court proceedings, both sides will present their arguments and evidence before a judge who will ultimately decide based on all presented factors.

After careful deliberation of each party's submissions and evidence, courts issue final orders regarding custody and visitation that reflect what they believe serves best for the child's welfare and development.