Relocating Because of Abuse
Seeing your child abused or put in harm’s way can be scary. Relocating is one way to protect your child from harm. You want to do everything you can to protect your child. This is a normal reaction for a concerned parent to have. Sometimes it is necessary to relocate a child who has been abused to prevent contact from the abuser. If the other parent has custody or parenting time rights, however, there are some things you should know before you decide to relocate.
First, know that if your child is in imminent or serious danger, you should make a report to your child protective services (CPS) agency. In New Jersey, CPS is named the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). A responding investigator may be able to obtain an emergency custody order allowing you to take your child with you. Nonetheless, these orders only provide short-term protection.
Second, know that if the other parent has custody or parenting time rights, he or she will have to agree to the relocation. Otherwise, if the other parent does not agree, you need to get a court order. Relocating without obtaining permission or a court order can have serious consequences. The court will need to be involved in cases involving child abuse. You can request a modification of custody on the basis of child abuse. This may give you sole custody and/or put limitations or constraints on the parental access rights of the other parent.
Lastly, know that you should report all instances of child abuse to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Once reported, the instance of abuse will be promptly investigated. The findings of the investigation can be particularly helpful in custody actions, especially if a parent is requesting relocation.
Decide What’s Best and Make a Plan
If you have a child you believe may be abused by the other parent, contact a child abuse and neglect attorney immediately. Do not merely locate an attorney who practices child custody, as they are less likely to have the most information available about the child abuse agency, whether and how you should involve them, and how best to advocate for your child, knowing the agency will at some render a conclusion that may or may not be what you want. Relocating to protect your child may be an option. An attorney should evaluate your case and recommend an appropriate plan of action. You may need to get a court order to relocate. An attorney can help get an order and put other protections in place for your child promptly.
Do you have concerns about your child’s safety? Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help you ensure your child’s safety and well-being are protected. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.