What happens if I want to move and take my children to another state – can my ex-spouse prevent me from doing so?
In New Jersey, we have what’s known as a removal procedure. You cannot move your children out of the state without the consent of the other spouse or a court order. In order to get a court order, you have to make a removal motion, and you have to give your reasons for wanting to move. Your reasons will be analyzed to see whether they boil down to wanting to deprive your ex-spouse from seeing his/her children.
As long as the reason is not inimical to the other parent’s visitation, there are factors and evaluations. It’s the same type of process as the original custody, but a lot depends on what the original custody was. If the original custody was a situation in which you have the children the majority of the time, and you want to move, the standard is a lot lower that if the custody is a 50/50 split; if you have true joint physical custody with your ex, it’s very difficult to move and not cause the other parent to lose the connection with the child.
Removal is a very significant process and evaluation, and a matter that needs to be handled by an experienced professional.
Judith S. Charny has been practicing law in South Jersey since 1984. Ms. Charny concentrates in divorce and family law, including collaborative law and divorce mediation. She has appeared on television numerous times as an expert on New Jersey family law.
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