West Caldwell Relocation Lawyer
Co-parenting with someone you no longer have an intimate relationship with is challenging. While many couples co-parent well, others may have a significantly more challenging time. When one parent wants to leave the state and the other objects, even the best communicators might have trouble engaging in a productive dialogue.
If you wish to move out of New Jersey and bring your child with you, or if your ex wants to do so, you and your co-parent must either develop a written agreement addressing custody and visitation issues or file an application with the court for an order granting express permission to relocate. A West Caldwell relocation lawyer can be a strong ally and skillful guide, whatever your position on your child’s relocation. To learn more about your legal options regarding relocation, get in touch with the experienced legal team at Williams Law Group.
The Legal Process for Moving with a Child
Child custody and visitation agreements are court orders, and a court must sign and enter said agreements. Relocation will impact the custody and visitation agreement, even if the parent who wishes to move with the child already has primary physical custody. Parents in these situations will require a modification of the court order.
Modifying a custody and visitation order could happen in one of two ways. If parents agree that one party will leave the state, they will fashion a plan that addresses the need for the non-custodial parent to maintain a relationship with the child, place said agreement in writing, both parties will sign the agreement, and it will then be filed with the court. If they cannot agree, a parent could file an application with the court for a judicial determination of whether a parent can relocate with a child.
Parents who wish to relocate with their child and do not have the co-parent’s consent or a court order will likely be held in violation of the law and the co-parent’s rights if the relocate without a written agreement or court order. Parents should always explore options with a West Caldwell relocation attorney before taking any action that could put them in legal jeopardy.
Consent Agreements in West Caldwell
Regardless of whether co-parents share legal and physical custody, or one parent has primary physical custody, courts require a written agreement to address changes in custody and visitation. These documents are called consent orders and should be filed with the court.
Parents could write this agreement themselves, but ideally, each parent should consult with their own relocation attorney before filing it with the court. Even when co-parents have good communication and the ability to reach consensus, issues might be overlooked or misunderstood. If each parent has their attorney review the agreement, it is more likely to provide a successful roadmap for the family going forward and address potential future issues before they occur.
Contested Petitions for Relocation
If the parents disagree on relocation, the parent who wants to move must file an application with the court to modify the custody agreement with the court. The court must determine that any change in custody is in the best interest of the child.
New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:2-4 requires courts to consider multiple elements to determine the child’s best interest. These factors include the:
- Safety of the child and the requesting parent, including any history of domestic violence or physical abuse
- Child’s educational success and special needs, if any
- Parents’ respective fitness to be the custodial parent and their history of respecting the existing custody and visitation agreement
- Impact of relocation on the child’s relationship with the other parent, siblings, and extended family
- Child’s opinion, if they have the capacity to make a reasoned decision
Courts also will consider the distance the parent intends to move, the impact of a move on the stability of the home, employment opportunities, and other factors. Convincing a court that relocation is in the child’s best interest over the objections of a co-parent is possible, but can be challenging without legal guidance. A parent who wishes to relocate or prevent relocation can rely on an experienced West Caldwell attorney to present a convincing argument that supports their position.
Trust a West Caldwell Relocation Attorney with Your Case
If you or your co-parent wish to relocate out of state, you will need to modify your custody agreement. Regardless of whether or not you and your co-parent agree on that plan, you should use the knowledge and guidance of a local family law attorney.
A West Caldwell relocation lawyer can help you and your co-parent develop a consent order if you both agree to the move. If you and your co-parent cannot come to an agreement, a seasoned member of our legal team can advocate for your position in court. If you or someone you know wishes to relocate out of New Jersey with their child(ren), contact the Williams Law Group today to get started.