"My ex-spouse exercises visitation with my kids, but I want to move with them to another state. Can I go?"
It depends. The Supreme Court of our State has established that a custodial parent who seeks removal of a child outside of the state of New Jersey over the objection of the other parent must first demonstrate a prima facie case for removal before the court may further consider the removal application. Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. at 91, 118 (2001). The moving party has the burden "to produce evidence to establish prima facie that (1) there is a good faith reason for the move and (2) that the move will not be inimical to the child's interests." Id. at 118. The Supreme Court explained:
Baures, 167 N.J. at 118.
In determining a party's removal application pursuant to the Bauers standard, the court must examine the merits of that party's request in the context of twelve factors. Specifically, the Bauers court set forth the factors as follows:
Id. at 116-17. (emphasis added); see also O'Conner v. O'Connor, 349 N.J.Super. 381, 397 (App. Div. 2002).
It should be remembered that notwithstanding any statutory or case law, the prevailing guiding principal of any court addressing issues concerning children is their best interests. All questions concerning children must be answered in the context of what is best for them, not necessarily the parents.
Charles F. Vuotto, Jr., Esq. is a partner with the Matawan based law firm of Tonneman, Vuotto & Enis, LLC (TV&E), which dedicates its practice exclusively to Divorce and Family Law.
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