Articles Posted in Relocation

Various blogs have been written by members of our firm about situations where a custodial parents IMG_1930-300x225wants to move with the parties’ children to a state other than New Jersey.   Can a custodial parent live wherever he/she wants within the State of New Jersey?  Can a non-custodial parent ask a New Jersey family court just to stop a custodial parent from moving with the children to another town or city within the State of New Jersey?

Certainly some parents have reached an agreement with one another that they will live within a certain proximity to one another where they feel that it is in their own best interest for their children to live in certain areas of New Jersey or for the parents to live within a certain proximity to one another in order for their custody and parenting time agreement to work out.   New Jersey has a public policy of enforcing settlement agreements where they are fair and equitable.

What if parents do not have such an agreement?  Can the non-custodial parent prevent the custodial parent from living anywhere within the state of New Jersey that the custodial parent wants to live? In 2003, the Appellate Division addressed this question in the case of Schulze v. Morris, 361 N.J. Super. 419 (2003).  In this case, the parties had both been living in Middlesex County, New Jersey, but after the custodial parent was denied tenure at her teaching position, she found another teaching job in Sussex County and wanted to move with the parties’ child to Sussex County.  The non-custodial parent filed an Order to Show Cause seeking to stop the custodial parent from moving with the parties’ child to Sussex County.   The Appellate Division concluded that a custodial parent’s request to move to a different place within the State of New Jersey is not a “removal” action pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:2-2 for which the custodial parent has to obtain the permission of the Court.   However,  the Appellate Division recognized that a custodial parent’s move with a child can have significant impact on the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent and that there are occasions where an intrastate relocation can constitute a substantial change in circumstance warranting a modification of the custody and parenting time arrangement.   When a noncustodial parent opposes an intrastate relocation of the child(ren) but the custodial parent on the basis that the move will be “deleterious to the relationship between the child and the non-residential custodial parent, or will be otherwise inimical to the child’s best interests”, then the Appellate Division in Schultze directed that the family court had to assess the factors in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001), an interstate relocation case.

In enacting New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 9:2-2, the Legislature established a mechanism and25ebc4898eb30bc0cd7290a9cc18a32e-300x200 procedure for a divorced or unmarried parent when seeking to move with one’s children outside the state of New Jersey.  The statute provides:

“When the Superior Court has jurisdiction over the custody and maintenance of the minor children of parents divorced, separated or living separate, and such children are natives of this State, or have resided five years within its limits, they shall not be removed out of its jurisdiction against their own consent, if of suitable age to signify the same, nor while under that age without the consent of both parents, unless the court, upon cause shown, shall otherwise order. The court, upon application of any person in behalf of such minors, may require such security and issue such writs and processes as shall be deemed proper to effect the purposes of this section.”

The Courts in New Jersey have on several occasions interpreted this statute to address the standard for the family courts to apply when one parent wants to move out of New Jersey with the parties’ children, and the other parent objects to the children making such a move.   We addressed this standard in a previous blog with regard to parents having a shared 50/50 custodial arrangement based on the decision of the Appellate Division in Bisbing v. Bisbing, 445 N.J. Super. 207 (App.Div. 207), affirmed in part, modified, 230 N.J. 309  (2017).  In another blog, we addressed the standard for relocation based on the factors outlined in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001).  In those cases,  before the children were removed from New Jersey, an application was made by the parent seeking to move.  Does that have to be the procedure?  Can the parent make that application after the move?  Is it the obligation of the objecting parent to make an application objecting to the children’s removal from New Jersey?

Nothing is more precious to us than our children. The Supreme Court of the United States has established the right to know one’s children as a fundamental Constitutional right. In New Jersey the9-08-3-300x225 right to know and raise one’s children is firmly entrenched in statutory and case law.  In our mobile society the right to know one’s children post-divorce has often come in conflict with the post-divorce business or social needs of the parents.  New Jersey, like many North Eastern states, has a highly transient population who has come here for business or personal reasons and may find business or social needs more compelling than identity to the State as home. When parents of children feel compelled to move, there is often contention over the impact of such a move on custody of the children. Continue reading ›

This week the media was abuzz with news of the demise of another celebrity marriage, this time with the separation of professional basketball player, Carmelo Anthony, from his wife Lala

file000142175851-300x230

Weddings rings and large bills of money

Anthony. The Anthony’s have been married since 2010 and have a 10 year-old son. Their potential divorce raises questions about what would happen with their assets and who would get custody of their son in their divorce, were such a case to arise in New Jersey. Continue reading ›

547eb27fd9ff1_-_gays-and-baby-0810-3-lgn[1]In a recently published decision, D.G. and S.H. v. K.S., FD-1386-14S, the Honorable Stephanie M. Wauters, J.S.C., issued what could prove to be a groundbreaking decision as the definition of family continues to develop and evolve with the ever changing times.  The original ninety-six page decision decision was abridged to twenty-two pages for the published decision in this matter. In this particular case, the Court was presented with a situation the litigants creatively referred to as a “tri-parenting” relationship, wherein three friends agreed to conceive, raise and take care of a child, O.S.H., together as one unit in two households.  Continue reading ›

file0001207444674New Jersey’s removal statute, N.J.S.A. 9:2-4, bars a parent from permanent relocating a child from the State of New Jersey without the other parent’s consent or the permission of the court.   In a previous 2013 blog, my colleague, Daniel Burton, Esq., discussed at length the standard created under our case law when a custodial parent seeks to move out of New Jersey with a child and the noncustodial parent objects. The present leading case on relocation is  Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001), in which the New Jersey Supreme Court listed 12 factors for court to consider when deciding applications for a parent to relocate a child from New Jersey. Continue reading ›

8-03-3

On January 12th 2015, the Appellate Division published its opinion in the case of Costa v. Costa.  In Costa, the parties were married in 1994 and divorced in 2006.  They had two children together, one being born in 1997 and the other in 2000.  By way of settlement agreement entered into at the time of the divorce, the parties agreed the mother would be the primary residential custodian and that they would share joint legal custody of the children. Continue reading ›

In a recently published opinion, dated February 19, 2014, the Appellate Division analyzed and reversed a trial court’s decision declining to gavelexercise jurisdiction pursuant to New Jersey’s version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (commonly referred to as UCCJEA).  In this particular case, designated S.B. v. G.M.B., the trial court made a determination  to decline jurisdiction, in favor of the courts of Ontario, Canada, despite the fact that this relief was not specifically requested by either party.  Continue reading ›

file0002082373718In a perfect world, the issue of relocation or removal would never come up in the context of either divorce litigation or a post-judgment application because parents would be able to live in relative close proximity to one another and cooperate for the best interests of their children.  Continue reading ›