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Custody agreements and relocation requests through time

The issue of custody of children lies at the heart of every family case. It is by far the most important issue.

Unlike old times, when generations resided on farms or remained in the same communities, we have become a mobile society, driven by employment or relationship demands. It is now very common to be relocated by an employer than it was fifty years ago, often across the country or even to another country.

The law on custody and relocation has changed dramatically over the years. Initially, Courts set a high bar and made it difficult to relocate when taking the children. The pendulum gradually shifted and it became easier in the late 1980s and mid-1990s. In fact, the shift was so dramatic that virtually any application to relocate was granted, often without a hearing or trial.

The rationale supporting easy relocation was called into question, as it was based on faulty social science. Ultimately, the New Jersey Supreme Court entered a decision that made the analysis on relocation the same as that used in all custody and parenting time cases, the best interest of the child. Bottom line, it is now much more difficult to relocate to a different state or a different country. The same legal standard applies.

Different nations enter into international agreements on many issues, including laws to compel the return of children overseas. It is important to make sure that any country of relocation is a member of the Hague Convention.

Consultation with an experienced matrimonial and family law attorney is a very advisable first step to learn about your legal matter regarding a relocation, whether you are trying to relocate or opposing a relocation.

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