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Big moves can have a big impact on kids

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

After two people get divorced, it is not unusual for one person to move away. There are multiple reasons people do this, including a new job, starting a new relationship or wanting to move closer to family. This move can be a positive change for an adult, but uprooting children and moving them to a different state or country may not be in their best interests.

A big move can mean that shared or equal parenting is no longer possible, unless the other parent agrees to move as well. Not surprisingly, few parents are willing to do this. This means that if one parent wants to move and the other does not, the decision regarding where the kids will live may ultimately be made in court.

Parents who want to move with their children from New Jersey to a different state or country need to be able to meet certain criteria and have a good faith reason for wanting to relocate with the child or children. Children can have a very difficult time adjusting to such a big event, especially when they are already trying to adjust to their parents’ divorce. If there is not a strong enough argument made for moving with a child, a judge may deny the request for removal.

Unfortunately, there are some parents who would rather avoid Court at any cost and who may, without the approval of the other parent, or the permission of a Judge, move with the child anyway. This can prove to be a very complicated decision, and may result in significantly more harm to the family unit than proceeding through the legal channels could have created.

Custody and parenting time arrangements are intended to foster what is best for the children; in many cases, it is best for them to spend significant time with both parents. Moving kids across the country or across the world may make this nearly impossible. Whether a parent wants to move or prevent the other from moving, it is crucial that the well-being of the children is protected and that parents make use of the appropriate legal solutions.

Source: CNN, “U.S. Dad Wins Huge Custody Fight,” Ana Cabrera and Elizabeth Stuart, March 31, 2014

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