Let’s say you are getting divorced, you moved to New Jersey because your spouse had a job offer, and for years you have lived here and raised kids. Now that the divorce is happening, you want to go back home to family a thousand miles away. Can you do this?
Or, let’s say, you are the other parent who is threatened by a spouse wanting to relocate with your children. Whichever role you are experiencing, this is a family law issue that is extremely emotional for all involved.
The best interests of the children
Lawyers call this issue “relocation.” Under New Jersey law, if the children were born in New Jersey or lived here for five or more years, absent the consent of your soon to be ex-spouse, you need to convince a judge that the relocation is in the best interests of the children.
It has been our experience at Musulin Law Firm that a judge will apply the same standard no matter how long children have resided in New Jersey.
Factors courts consider
The best interest standard is contained in a state law known as Title 9. It lists considerations or “factors” that a judge will review in making a decision. These factors include the history of caretaking, any history of domestic violence or substance use, the history of cooperation/non-cooperation when sharing kids and other common sense inquiries. It is also common to retain experts to offer opinions as well. And experts, similar to lawyers, vary in experience and competence.
This is a complex area of the law. You should retain an attorney very experienced with the legal standards, knowledgeable of the legal experts and the judge hearing the matter. Be wise when selecting your attorney.