Going through a divorce or nasty breakup when having children together is never easy. The thought of not being able to come home and see your children when you are done with work, or if you take a day off to be with them and they are not there, is very difficult to deal with.
Then times get worse, the custodial parent seeks to relocate out of New Jersey which would make seeing your children even harder. The bond you have with the children could get weaker by the day they are away from you. Well the Supreme Court of New Jersey set aside the case that governed child relocation in New Jersey, aka Baures. Baures was "built" by the idea that if the custodial parent is happy, the child would be happy and the relationship with the non-custodial parent is not as important. Well, that is over now and the best interests of the child standard will be the guiding post for any parent seeking to relocate out of New Jersey. This is great news for non-custodial parents in New Jersey.
The best-interest standard is harder to prove than the previous method which was based around the custodial parent's need. To argue that the non-custodial parent who sees the child every week and/or his or her family has a close bond to the children and win, will now be incredibly hard for the "primary parent."
While Baures and this court ruling focus on child relocation in New Jersey, our team has always held that non-custodial parents' lives are important, and they mean more than many people will admit to. Children need two parents that care for them and non-custodial parents do not deserve to be an afterthought. They really need to be equals if the non-custodial parent in fact is involved and does love his or her children, which almost all do. If you do not have residential custody, you need to be vigilant against non-compliance of a New Jersey family court order so that if it continues you can obtain relief including the possibility of becoming the custodial parent.
Frankly, while parents want to be residential custodial parents. the goal should be to foster a relationship that is natural and permits frequent contact and parenting time on both sides. Life happens and yes, sometimes people are late for drop-offs, late for phone calls, and miss visits, but unless it is happening frequently, the parents should try to work it out without the court. If that is in fact impossible, which I have seen thousands of times, yes it is time to go to court and enforce your court order or seek a new court order with better identified boundaries that cannot be crossed.
The better written and structured the agreement and/or court order, the easier it is to follow. At that point the question becomes whether or not the parents really want to adhere to it. If they don't, watch out, enforcement motions done right can change your whole world.