New Jersey Child Custody / Removal – Relocation is perhaps the most sensitive and impactful of all legal matters. That’s why you’ve got to make sure your legal team is the trusted authority to aggressively protect the rights of you and your children.
The Staff and Attorneys at Romanowski Law Offices are prepared to work for you and your family’s protection. Call for your FREE Consultation to help guide you through this complex process. 732-603-8585
Determining NJ Child Custody – What Family Law Judges look for
In custody determinations, Courts always attempt to protect the children’s “best interests.”
This standard ensures a child’s safety, happiness, physical, mental & moral welfare. Parental wishes will be rejected if inconsistent with this standard.
The following factors are considered in determining what custody solution is in a child’s best interest:
- Parents’ ability to agree, communicate & cooperate in child-related matters;
- Parents’ willingness to accept custody & any history of unwillingness to allow visitation not based on substantiated abuse;
- Interactions & relationship of the child with its parents & siblings;
- History of domestic violence, if any;
- Safety of child & safety of either parent from physical abuse by other parent;
- Preference of child, when of sufficient age & capacity to reason, so as to form an intelligent decision;
- Needs of child;
- Stability of home environment offered by each parent;
- Quality and continuity of child’s education;
- Fitness of parents
- Geographic proximity of parents’ homes;
- Extent & quality of time spent with a child prior to & subsequent to separation;
- Parents’ employment responsibilities; and
- Number & ages of children.
Certain “informal” factors likewise significantly influence custody determinations:
Another significant factor is a Courts’ interest in identifying one parent who is most likely to put personal differences aside to unselfishly do right by his or her children. Any parent who demonstrates sincere action-based commitment to rise above existing contentions in order to affect amicable resolution of conflicts has an advantage, both within & without the court system. A second important criterion focuses on determining which parent is better suited to encourage & foster an appropriate relationship between child or children & the other parent.
How to Win Positive Results in NJ Child Custody Disputes
At Romanowski Law Offices, our professional staff is equipped with the experience, knowledge and training it takes to win positive results in New Jersey child custody and parenting disputes. New Jersey Divorce Attorney Curtis J. Romanowski has never lost a custody dispute. His unique professional background and experience includes training in psychology, personality typology and neurolinguistic programming, as well as considerable experience teaching lawyers and mental health professionals.
New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Romanowski’s enhanced ability to understand and communicate effectively within the context of child and family psychology brings with it a greater ability to effectively examine and cross-examine witnesses in those cases that do make it to trial; particularly the examination and cross-examination of child custody experts and guardians ad litem. His familiarity with the vernacular of psychology and psychometric testing instruments also gives him the ability to transform technical jargon into easily understood terminology, useful in the preparation and delivery of persuasive, winning oral arguments.
How to Succeed in Removal of Children from New Jersey Cases
The NJ Child Custody Lawyers at Romanowski Law Offices are well-equipped to help you with cases involving the removal of children from New Jersey. We can help you to successfully petition the Court to allow you to relocate with your children out of State. Our highly skilled New Jersey Child Custody Attorneys can also help you to oppose a move being attempted by the other parent, in your children’s best interests. We have a positive track record for proven results. Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. at 97 sets forth the applicable legal standards for the relocation of children by their primary custodial parent. According to Baures, 167 N.J. at 116, before its own standard can be applied, the Court must first make a determination that the parent seeking to relocate is indeed the primary custodial parent, and that the case does not involve a situation of essentially equivalent “shared parenting.” Cf. O’Connor v. O’Connor, 349 N.J. Super. 381, 399-400 (App. Div. 2002) (citing Mamolen v. Mamolen, 345 N.J. Super. 493 (App. Div. 2002)).
Baures does teach, however, that primary custodial status alone does not automatically carry with it the right to remove children from the State of New Jersey. The Supreme Court in Baures engineered a highly detailed legal test; a “hybrid scheme” that recognizes the identity of the interests of the custodial parent of the child, while according particular respect to the custodial parent’s right to seek happiness and fulfillment. At the same time, the Baures test emphasizes the importance of the non-custodial parent’s relationship with the child by guaranteeing regular communication and contact of a nature and quality to sustain the relationship. Baures, 167 N.J. at 97.
The moving party under Baures bears the two-pronged burden of providing prima facie proof that there (1) is a good faith reason for the move, and (2) that the move will not be inimical to child’s interests. Ibid. The movant should include within that prima facie case a visitation proposal. Id. at 118. That being said, in Cooper v. Cooper, 99 N.J. 42, 57-58 (1984), the Supreme Court previously noted that it was not necessary to maintain the same pre-removal visitation schedule, where a reasonable alternative visitation scheme is available and the advantages of the move are substantial.
Once a prima facie case is established under Baures, the burden is upon the non-custodial parent to produce evidence opposing the move, as being either not in good faith or inimical to the child’s interests. Baures, 167 N.J. at 119. Where visitation is an issue, the burden is on the non-custodial parent to produce evidence, not just that visitation will change, but that such a change will negatively affect the child. Holder v. Polanski, 111 N.J. 344, 352 (1998).
As articulated in Baures, a court should look to the following factors relevant to the movant’s burden of proving good faith and proving that the move will not be inimical to the child’s interests:
- the reasons given for the move;
- the reasons given for the opposition;
- the past history of dealings between the parties insofar as it bears on the reasons advanced by both parties for supporting and opposing the move;
- whether the child will receive educational, health and leisure opportunities at least equal to what is available here;
- any special needs or talents of the child that require accommodation and whether such accommodation or its equivalent is available in the new location;
- whether a visitation and communication schedule can be developed that will allow the noncustodial parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child;
- the likelihood that the custodial parent will continue to foster the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent if the move is allowed;
- the effect of the move on extended family relationships here and in the new location;
- if the child is of age, his or her preference;
- whether the child is entering his or her senior year in high school, at which point he or she should generally not be moved until graduation without his or her consent;
- whether the non-custodial parent has the ability to relocate;
- any other factor bearing on the child’s interest.
[Baures, 167 N.J. at 116-17.]
Additionally, Baures emphasizes the importance of mutual efforts to develop an alternative visitation scheme, such as can bridge the physical divide between the non-custodial parent and the child. Id.
Protecting Your Children’s Best Interests’ An Excellent NJ Child Custody Lawyer is the Key!
Competent counsel from a New Jersey Divorce & Child Custody Attorney, Child Custody Mediator & Parenting Coordinator experienced in dealing with complicated NJ Child Custody issues is indispensable. New Jersey Family Lawyer Curtis J. Romanowski has taught hundreds of New Jersey Child Custody Attorneys how to successfully represent their NJ Child Custody clients. Guarantee that he will be on Your side. We get results. We care about your children’s best interests.
New Jersey Family Lawyer Curtis J. Romanowski has taught hundreds of New Jersey Child Custody Attorneys how to successfully represent their NJ Child Custody clients. Guarantee that he will be on Your side. We get results. We care about your children’s best interests.