Our society is becoming increasingly mobile. It is no longer uncommon for people to relocate far away from the places where they were born and raised, and to move several more times once they reach adulthood. When you are married or in a committed relationship, it is typical for your spouse or partner to accompany you when you move, along with any children the two of you share. After a divorce or separation, however, moving can become more complicated. If you have gone through a divorce or custody case, you may be wondering whether you can move out of state with your child.
In the vast majority of cases, the parties share joint legal custody. This means that they share the responsibility to make major decisions for their children. In the case Bisbing v. Bisbing, the New Jersey Supreme Court reexamined the standard for moving out of state with a child where the parties share joint legal custody. In that case, the Supreme Court replaced the former standard of “good faith/not inimical to the child” with a best interest analysis. Note that the best interest analysis applies regardless of whether the relocating parent was the child’s primary residential parent or whether the parents shared equal parenting time. The Supreme Court determined that when a parent is asking to relocate out of New Jersey with the child, a trial court should look to the factors contained in New Jersey statute 9:2-4, as with any other custody case. The court’s opinion in Bisbing signals that the emphasis in these cases should no longer be on the rights of the custodial parent, but rather on whether the relocation is best for the child.
Parents seeking to relocate need to keep in mind that the law and the courts in New Jersey recognize that it is best for a child to have as much contact and bonding between the child and each parent as possible. This will be important because an out-of-state move is very likely to reduce the time a child can spend with the non-custodial parent. If the relocating parent is permitted to move away with the child, it is also very likely that the current custody order will be modified to make it possible for the parent remaining in New Jersey to still spend as much time as practical with the child. For example, the new order may allow the non-custodial parent to have the child for the majority of all holiday time, such as summer break and fall break.
Ultimately, the question of whether a parent can move a child out of state is highly fact specific. We have experience helping our clients with these cases. Call us today to talk about your children.
Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at[email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation
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