Once you have finally wrapped your divorce, it may seem too overwhelming, frustrating, or even annoying to step back into the courtroom for years to come. However, if you decide to make a move with your children, this may be exactly where you find yourself without taking the proper legal steps.
Why Are You Moving?
First, it is important to identify your reasons for moving. Are you just trying to find a fresh start in a new place, far away from old memories? Do you have a great job or living opportunity that you can’t find in New Jersey? Whatever the case, your reasons may come into play later on if the court gets involved in the decision making process.
As the custodial parent, you must be able to demonstrate three main issues:
- The move is not intended to punish the other parent.
- Their are valid and beneficial reasons for the move.
- The move honors the best interests of your children.
So what if your spouse refuses to agree to the move? Regardless of their motivations to disagree with the move, without their consent, you won’t be able to make the move. Your other option is to get permission from a judge through a court order. If the court deems your reasons valid and the move to be in the best interests of your children, you may be granted permission. Keep in mind, the court may adjust your child custody agreement to allow for more visits or time away with the other parent.
Factors the Court Considers in Relocation Cases
In general, the court will weigh 12 main factors before making a ruling on a relocation request. If the court determines that the move is in the best interest of the custodial parent and the children, and does not act in bad faith towards the non-custodial parent, they will likely approve the motion to relocate.
These are the key factors that will be reviewed:
- The custodial parent’s reason(s) for wanting to move
- The educational opportunities available for the children
- The parents’ history together handling custody matters
- The non-custodial parent’s reasons for having the children stay
- The resources available to assist with any special needs or gifts of the children
- Whether the non-custodial parent will still be able to maintain a full relationship
- How likely the custodial parent is to help foster the other parent’s relationship
- The effects the move will have on extended family relationships
- If the child is of the appropriate age, any preferences they may have
- The educational level/grade the child is at in school
- The non-custodial parent’s ability to relocate closer to the children
- Any other factor that may relate to the best interest of the child
If the non-custodial parent does not agree with the move, it is important that you make sure you are ready for a fight. Retaining counsel from a seasoned Monmouth County child custody lawyer is crucial during this time.
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