Removal Redux

//Removal Redux

Removal Redux

Last year I wrote about removal cases, cases in which one parent asks the Court for permission to move from New Jersey with the child. In 2001 the Supreme Court of New Jersey decided Baures v Lewis. That decision laid out the legal principles that have governed removal cases for the past sixteen years. A few weeks ago the Supreme Court decided Bisbing v Bisbing. In that

A few weeks ago the Supreme Court decided Bisbing v Bisbing. In that decision the court found a “special justification” for changing the law in removal cases. Baures required the custodial parent to show only a good faith reason for the move and that the move would not be detrimental to the child. A change in the relationship with the non-custodial parent was not necessarily regarded as a detriment to the child.

A few weeks ago the Supreme Court decided Bisbing v Bisbing. In that decision the court found a “special justification” for changing the law in removal cases. Baures required the custodial parent to show only a good faith reason for the move and that the move would not be detrimental to the child. A change in the relationship with the non-custodial parent was not necessarily regarded as a detriment to the child.

The Court based its reasoning on two main points. First, a consensus had emerged in the psychological literature that concluded that generally what is good for the custodial parent is good for the child. If the move made the custodial parent happier or enhanced his/her lifestyle, the child would benefit. Second, the Court discerned a trend in the law in other states toward making it easier for custodial parents to move with the child based on this easier to meet standard.

In Bisbing the Supreme Court overruled itself and set a new standard because it found that there was a “special justification” that required the change. After sixteen years the psychological literature was no longer in agreement about the impact of such a move on the children and the “trend” in the law of other states never actually materialized.

Now the bar is a bit higher. The custodial parent must now prove that the move would be in the child’s best interests. It is no longer enough to prove that the move wouldn’t hurt the child. The custodial parent must now prove that the move would actually benefit the child compared to remaining in New Jersey. The burden is greater and the proofs needed to sustain it are more substantial. Of course, none of this means that all removal requests are doomed to fail. They are not. And, in many cases, they will still be successful. It may just require more work and more evidence.

By | 2017-11-10T16:17:57+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Removal|Comments Off on Removal Redux