Child Custody & Relocation
Experienced Bergen County Child Custody Lawyer
With over 75 years of combined family law experience, the partners at TMO Law Firm are no strange to the complex issues a child custody lawyer serving Bergen County, NJ, must face. Moreover, we understand that in a divorce process filled with issues that often touch emotional hot-buttons, perhaps none does this more than the subject of what happens to the kids. Our clients rely on us to provide compassionate counsel and strategic legal leadership. That’s exactly what our family law attorneys aim to provide to all who come to us.
TMO Law Firm’s service area extends beyond our Bergen County home base, throughout Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson counties, and sweeps through northern New Jersey.
Call today at (201) 308-0383 or contact our Bergen County law office online to set up a consultation.
The child custody issues that have to be worked out by the spouses—ideally through collaborative negotiations, but, if necessary, through litigation—fall into the general categories of physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody is what likely comes to most people’s minds when they think of child custody. It’s the matter of where the children will live. The settlement must deal with whether physical custody will be joint, where the kids spend equal amounts of time with each parent, or sole, where the primary residence of the children is with one spouse. If it’s the latter, then an appropriate visitation schedule has to be settled on for the non-custodial parent.
Legal custody refers to the authority to make important decisions in a child’s life. Where will the kids go to school? If a decision has to be made on a medical procedure, who can make that decision? Will the children have a religious upbringing ,and if so, what kind? All of these, and more, are the types of child custody issues that are covered under legal custody. This can also be shared jointly by the parents, or one spouse can have primary authority in Bergen County, NJ.
The resolution of these matters will be subject to a single criteria—what is the best interests of the child? While judges—who have final power of review, even in a negotiated settlement—certainly want to be fair to each parent, that desire must be completely subordinate to the child’s best interest.
Furthermore, it is presumed that a child’s best interests are served by having both parents equally involved in their lives. Parents can certainly challenge that presumption, but the burden of proof is on the challenging parent and their Bergen County divorce attorney.
As divorced spouses move forward with their lives, circumstances can change. They may wish to relocate for reasons that range from a job opportunity to a new relationship. When children are involved, there are limits on what actions a parent can take without either the approval of the other parent, or of a New Jersey court.
If the proposed relocation will not impact the other parent’s custodial rights, then all is fine. But if visitation or shared custody will become unreasonably difficult, if not impossible, then the first step is to consult with the other parent. If the other parent is not willing to sign off on the relocation, then a petition must be filed with the court.
The law in New Jersey, based on a state Supreme Court ruling in 2017, has made it more difficult for parents who desire relocation. Prior law held that the best interests of the child were considered met, so long as it was shown that the child would not be harmed by the move. Now, a parent who wishes to undertake a significant relocation, must show that the move would be a real benefit to the child.
“David was fierce yet compassionate in handling my complex case.” - Balaji
“Everyone should have a lawyer of this caliber. He wasn't just my ally. He was my hero.” - Elana
Every family’s case is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. TMO Law Firm, with our 75 years of combined legal experience between the partners, can draw on our knowledge of how the new rules are being interpreted in concrete family law cases, and give our clients the counsel they need. We’re ready to help them craft a plan for legal and physical custody that will protect their relationship with their children.