Yes, 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 what’s known as a removal motion. And you have to give your reasons for wanting to move. And they are first analyzed whether or not the reasons are not because you want to get away from the other spouse. There has to be a better reason. It can’t be that, “I don’t want my spouse to see the children ever again.”
So, 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. So, if the original custody was a situation where the one parent has the majority of the time and wants to move the child, the standard’s a lot lower because the connection and the visitation of the other parents wasn’t strong. As it gets higher, such as in a 50/50 split, it’s very difficult to move and not cause the other parent to lose the connection with the child.
So, it is a process and it is evaluation. And it’s a very, very, big process, and you need someone who is very experienced in this to know how to handle this.
Judith S. Charny has been practicing law in South Jersey since 1984 and established her own practice in 1999. Ms. Charny concentrates in divorce and family law, including collaborative law and divorce mediation.