My former spouse took a job in another state and wants to move our child there. Can I stop this from occurring?
Typically, a New Jersey child custody order provides for regularly scheduled parenting time with each parent. Relocating a child to another state can significantly interfere with this schedule. Because of this, a custodial parent, or parent of primary residence (“PPR”), is prohibited from removing a couple’s children to another state without following the steps required by New Jersey law. A parent who fails to follow the steps enumerated in the law may be prosecuted for unlawful interference with parenting time.
Typically, a non-custodial parent, or parent of alternate residence (“PAR”), must consent to an interstate move prior to a child’s removal from New Jersey. In order to prevent future disputes, it is a good idea to ensure any such agreement is made in writing. If the PAR does not provide his or her consent, a court order must be obtained before a child may be removed from the state. In situations when a custodial parent is fleeing from an immediate risk of harm by a child’s other parent or the child’s welfare is presently at risk, a PPR must report his or her child’s emergency removal to the appropriate authorities within 24 hours.
Before obtaining a court order to relocate a child, the PPR must show the family court that he or she has a good faith reason, such as an attractive job offer, for the request. Additionally, the parent is required to offer a reasonable plan for ensuring the PAR has the opportunity to engage in parenting time with the former couple’s child. Since removing a child to a distant state can have a profound effect on a child’s relationship with a non-custodial parent, the proposed plan should outline the ways in which it will help the PAR maintain a solid relationship with his or her child. The proposal should discuss transportation issues, school and other holidays, and which parent will pay the costs associated with any travel. A child’s access to electronic and other communications with the PAR should also be established in a proposed plan.
A PAR who would like to oppose his or her child’s removal from New Jersey is required to submit a sworn statement indicating any inaccuracies in the PPR’s request and outlining his or her reasons for opposing the request. Such reasons may include not only parenting time concerns, but also educational, health, and general welfare issues. After reviewing the PAR’s removal request, the family court will consider a number of specific factors enumerated in New Jersey law before issuing a decision. It is important to note that a New Jersey family court has the authority to prohibit the PPR from removing the child through either a permanent or temporary emergency order. If you have questions about how to respond to a custodial parent’s request to take your child out of state, you should contact an experienced New Jersey family lawyer as soon as possible.
The hardworking family law attorneys at Goldstein Law Group are available to discuss your circumstances and advise you about the legal options that are available to you. To speak with a seasoned New Jersey family law advocate about your child custody case today, do not hesitate to call Goldstein Law Group at 732-967-6777 or contact us online.
More Blog Posts:
Child Custody and Parenting Time for New Jersey Parents Who are Deployed Overseas, June 3, 2015, New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Blog
How is my Child Support Obligation Calculated in New Jersey?, April 28, 2015, New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Blog