In the event that a parent wishes to relocate out of the State of New Jersey with their child (or children), without the consent of the other parent, he or she must petition the Court. The standard that the Court will utilize to make its relocation determination depends upon the custody arrangement at the time of the desired relocation.
If parents do not share physical custody (i.e. one parent is the Parent of Primary Residence) the Court will apply the standard set forth by the Supreme Court in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001). If parents share physical custody then the Court will apply the standard set forth in the Appellate Division’s decision in O’Conner v. O’Conner, 349 N.J. Super. 381 (App. Div. 2002).
Baures Standard (parents do not share physical custody): The burden falls on the relocating custodial parent to show that there is a good faith advantage or reason for moving, and that the move is not detrimental to the best interests of the child. If this burden is satisfied, then the burden shifts to the noncustodial parent who would need to demonstrate either that there is no good faith reason for the move or that the move would be detrimental to the child’s best interests.
O’Conner Standard: When the parents share physical custody of the child, then the burden falls on the relocating parent to show that it would be in the best interest of the child if residential or physical custody was primarily granted to the relocating parent.