When Do I Need the Court's Permission to Move?

The only thing that we can all count on to be a constant in our lives is change. After a divorce or custody action, there are many changes that will happen for the parents and the children as everyone settles into the new “normal” of having two different households. In some situations, after time passes, it may be that one of the parents needs to relocate to a new city or state. Parents wanting to relocate will need to be sensitive to the statutory and case law requirements he or she may need to abide by before planning and executing a relocation.

New Jersey statute 9:2-2 provides that a child who has resided in New Jersey for at least five years shall not be moved out of the state by one of the parents without consent of both parents, or, where applicable, the consent of the child. The statute goes on to say that the court may order that a parent is allowed to move out of state with the child in the even the relocating parent can demonstrate “cause” for the relocation. In other words, if both parents come to an agreement about a parent relocating with the child out of state, then the relocating parent will not have to seek the court’s permission prior to moving. However, if one parent objects to the move, the parent seeking to relocate will need to get permission from the New Jersey court in order to move and take the child with him or her.

Historically, the test for “cause shown” was the test set out in Baures v. Lewis. In that case, the court stated that the parent wishing to relocate had to show a good-faith reason to move and also that the move would “not be inimical to a child’s best interest.” However, in a recent case styled Bisbing v. Bisbing, the New Jersey Supreme Court has held the test for relocation is no longer that found in Baures. Instead, the Court in Bisbing determined that courts need to conduct a best interest analysis to determine if cause exists for a parent to relocate. This an important shift in the law.

If you are facing a relocation case, you need an experienced team to help you. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 and we can discuss your child and the potential relocation.