The Removal Request Process
The custody attorneys at Cores & Associates are experienced at dealing with cases involving requests for one parent to relocate out of New Jersey with a child or children. There are few other cases that test the court, or parents more than a removal case. Often the end result of a parent moving out of New Jersey is a significant reduction in the amount of time the non-moving parent sees his or her children. However, in our very mobile society, moving is inevitable. You need a trusted advocate that can successfully navigate complicated removal cases.
The legal standard applicable to a removal case depends on whether one parent has primary physical custody, otherwise known as parent of primary residence, or whether the parents have joint physical custody, whereby the parties have approximately equal time with the children.
In cases whether one parent has primary physical custody, the custodial parent must initially show a good faith reason for the move and that the move will not be detrimental to the children. This is typically not a difficult burden to meet. Examples of good faith reasons for the move include a new job, marriage to new spouse, and moving closer to extended family. As part of this initial showing, the custodial parent also should have a proposed visitation and communication schedule between the non-custodial parent and child.
If the custodial parent meets the initial burden, the non-custodial parent must show that either the move is not motivated by the “good faith reason” or the move will be detrimental to the best interest of the children.
With Removal applications, the court is tasked with the consideration of a number of factors. Specifically, the court must consider:
- The reasons given for the move
- The reasons given for the opposition
- The past history of dealings between the parties insofar as it bears on the reasons advanced by both parties for supporting and opposing the move
- Whether the child will receive educational, health, and leisure opportunities at least equal to that which is available in New Jersey
- Any special needs or talents of the child that require accommodation and whether such accommodation or its equivalent is available in the new location
- Whether a visitation and communication schedule can be developed that will allow the non-custodial parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child
- The likelihood that the custodial parent will continue to foster the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent if the move is allowed
- The effect of the move on extended family relationships here and in the new location
- If the child is of age, his or her preference
- Whether the child is entering his or her senior year in high school, at which point he or she should generally not be moved until graduation without his or her consent
- Whether the non-custodial parent has the ability to relocate
- Any other factor bearing on the child’s interest
Removal Versus Custodial Change
In situations where parties have joint physical custody, a request to move with the child or children is not one of removal. Instead, the request is really one of a change in custody, which is a much more difficult standard to meet. In short, the moving parent must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances and must prove that the best interest of the children will be better served by moving.
The experienced New Jersey Removal Attorneys at Cores & Associates can help you navigate removal cases. Whether you are seeking to move, or trying to stop a parent from moving, our attorneys are here to assist you.