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Moving the Children Out of State

Many times, after a divorce the custodial parent may want to move out of State with the child(ren). What does New Jersey law have to say about that?

Well, it would depend. The law in New Jersey recently changed in a major way per the Supreme Court case of Bisbing v. Bisbing, 230 N.J. 309 (2017). The Supreme Court of NJ has changed the prior law (per the prior Supreme Court case of Bauers v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001)) that simply required the moving party to prove that there is a good faith reason for the move, and that the move will not be unfavorable or harmful to the child’s interests, to a full best interest analysis. It is now clear, in light of Bisbing, that simply because a relocation may make the custodial parent happier does not mean it is in the best interests of the child. The Bisbing Supreme Court held that the parent seeking to relocate must demonstrate that there is “cause” for an order authorizing such relocation. In that inquiry, “cause” must be determined by “a best interests analysis in which the court will consider all relevant factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 9:2–4(c), supplemented by other factors as appropriate.”  Bisbing v. Bisbing, 230 N.J. at 338.  Furthermore, a party seeking to modify a previously agreed upon custody agreement, bears additional burden of proving that changed circumstances make the previous custody agreement no longer in the child’s best interests. Bisbing, at 322 citing Mimkon v. Ford, 66 N.J. 426, 438 (1975) and Abouzahr v. Matera-Abouzahr, 361 N.J. Super 135, 152 (App.Div.) cert. denied, 178 N.J. 34 (2003).

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