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There are many reasons why a custodial parent may want to move out of state. A good job offer or the desire to be with family may compel a parent to move away with their children. If you are considering moving out of state, or you are a non-custodial parent facing this situation, a Short Hills relocation lawyer could help.
There are significant consequences to moving children out of state. You may need to relocate because of finances or emotional support, but a move may also deprive your child’s other parent of a realistic visitation schedule. Courts are vigilant about protecting a child’s best interests, and a family attorney could explain all the factors that a court may consider in a relocation case.
There are two ways a custodial parent can move with their child out of state. Either both parents can agree to the move, or there must be a court order allowing the move. If the non-custodial parent agrees with relocation, a Short Hills lawyer could help draft a “stipulation and consent” agreement to file with the court. This agreement notifies the court that both parents approve of the relocation, and therefore, there should be a modification made to an existing custody agreement. It is important to note that the move also may affect child support obligations.
If the parents do not agree about the relocation, the custodial parent needs to file a motion to ask the court for permission to move out of state. The non-custodial parent then has the right to file their response, with evidence as to why the child or children should not relocate. Without a written agreement or court order, relocating children out of state is a crime.
However, there is one exception to this process under state law, which involves a custodial parent fleeing because of an “immediate risk of physical harm.” If that is the case, the statute requires that the parent report the move and their reasoning to police, the local prosecutor, or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.
When reviewing a relocation case, a court must consider any factors that could impact the child’s overall well-being. Some of these factors include the child’s needs, age, health, and the stability of the home environment. A court also may look at how moving may affect the safety and educational opportunities of the child, as well as the parents’ employment situations.
The parent who wants to move with their child must bring proof that demonstrates that this relocation is in the child’s “best interests.” Evidence may include testimony from factual witnesses or experts such as psychologists or other clinicians.
The potential harm in one of these types of cases is the loss of contact with the non-custodial parent and the subsequent damage to that critical relationship. There is a delicate balance between this loss and the potential gain for the child. With a child’s welfare at stake, relocation cases require careful attention by all involved parties. A Short Hills family lawyer could help gather the proof necessary to support or oppose a motion to relocate.
When you share your child with another person, this could make decisions such as moving out of state all the more complicated. If you are considering relocating with your child or you are facing your child potentially moving away from you, do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team of attorneys. Our Short Hills relocation lawyers could help you through this process and work to protect your family’s future. For more information about how we may be able to help, schedule a case consultation today.