Within the last few weeks, there has been an important change to the law regarding moving out of NJ with your kids. If you want to move out of NJ with your kids, you need one of two things: 1) the written consent of the other parent or 2) a Court order allowing you to do so. Recently, the NJ lawmakers changed the law that Courts apply when considering whether to allow you to move out of State with your kids.
Old law: The Courts used to consider 12 factors pursuant to a case called Baures v. Lewis. You can review those factors here if you want to. The burden was on the parent asking to move to present testimony and evidence to the Court satisfying those factors. Not every factor had to be satisfied but the majority needed to and some factors could carry more weight than others. The Courts did not specifically use the “best interest of the child standard” in those cases but determined the Baures factors would help the Court determine whether the move would be in the child’s best interest.
New law: The Courts have determined that Baures is no longer good law. Instead, the Courts will consider the “best interest of the child” factors. You can view those factors here. Don’t be mistaken, simply because the Court will apply the best interest of the child standard does not mean that the factors set forth in Baures are not helpful. All of those factors are relevant to the best interest factors.
Getting a Court order to move out of NJ with your child can be difficult. You should hire, or at least consult with, an attorney before you go to Court alone. If you have to represent yourself, be prepared to go through each factor with the Court and be ready to provide a clear explanation for how you satisfy each factor. Have evidence! New job? Provide a copy of your offer letter (you can redact your confidential information but if you can show you have employment waiting, that is in your favor). Kids will of course be attending a new school. Give the Court information about that school, how are they ranked (although that is not dispositive), do they have any special programs that may interest your child? Will you have your own place? Show the Court a copy of your lease. Remember as the parent asking to move out of State, the burden is on you to persuade the Court that moving would be in the child’s best interest.
The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only. You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case. Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff Law.