Determining child custody is an important aspect of the divorce process for parents who share children. Understanding how the courts view this decision may aid parties in knowing the best course of action they should take.
The state of New Jersey has changed its policies over the years regarding relocation of a child from a non-custodial parent. For parents undergoing a divorce, there are a few important aspects to know about the state's relocation law.
In 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court introduced a new way of determining proper grounds for relocation. Previously, if a parent with primary custody desired to relocate out of state with the children, said parent had to prove two assertions:
- The parent has a good faith reason for relocating.
- The move would not harm the interest of the child.
If the parent could successfully argue both assertions, the court would allow the relocation, even without the consent of the other parent. However, in the case of Bisbing v. Bisbing, the Supreme Court determined that the two assertions were not enough and that courts needed to decide according to the best interest of the children.
Best interest standard
Under the current law, the courts perform an analysis to determine if the relocation works in the best interest of the child. To make this determination, the court considers several different factors. In cases where the children are old enough to make personal decisions, the court will consider the children's interests.
In some cases, such as a parent with primary custody moving within the state, it may be possible for parents to work out a new arrangement between themselves through a mediated session. However, when that is not an option, both parties should prepare to present their sides in court, focusing on the interest of the children.
Courts do encourage parties to work through aspects of their divorce outside court when possible, which can be especially positive in cases that involve children. However, when that is not possible, understanding the law can be very beneficial in building a strong argument for court.