Difficult as the breakup of your marriage was, you may have had an even more challenging time determining a fair and appropriate child custody arrangement. Whether this involved the orders of a judge or a negotiated settlement, ideally, you and your ex arrived at a plan that provides the children with a good balance of time between both of you.
Now you are looking at a new challenge. Your ex has informed you of his or her plans to move out of New Jersey and take the children. This heart-wrenching information may have your head spinning as you try to imagine the complications it presents to your custody arrangement.
Keeping your kids close to home
With a court ordered custody plan, your ex may not take the children out of state without a judge’s approval. In general, family courts are not eager to approve relocations that disrupt working parenting plans. Therefore, your ex will have to demonstrate that the move will benefit the children and will not deprive them of the time they should be spending with you. In other words, a move that would solely benefit your spouse may not win the support of a judge.
While this may seem as if you have the advantage in court, you should not allow this to stop you from building a strong case against the move, if that is your goal. Some factors that may prompt the court to deny permission for the move include the following:
- The distance is too great to allow you to fully participate in the lives of the children.
- Your ex is unable to produce a plan for travel and visitation that is not burdensome for you and the children.
- The children have excellent educational and extracurricular opportunities in their current environment.
- The children have family, friends and others whom they would have to leave behind if they moved.
- Your children have expressed reluctance to make the move.
If your co-parent has notified you that he or she intends to move with the children, you may wonder what you can do to oppose those plans. You will want to build a strong case that includes the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who has a firm grasp of New Jersey’s child custody and relocation laws. By calling for a consultation, you may learn more about your rights and the most appropriate steps you can take.