Articles Posted in Visitation

father and childIn an unpublished New Jersey appellate decision, a father appealed from an order allowing a mother to relocate with their two kids to Texas. The divorced couple had two daughters, who were nine and 13 when the mother decided to relocate. The parties had joint legal custody of the kids, with the mother as the parent of primary residence under the final divorce judgment. The father was the parent of alternate residence. The consent order in the divorce judgment had also provided for the father’s parenting time, even if the mother relocated.

In 2014, the mother asked for the court’s permission to relocate with the kids to Texas. The court asked for a diagnostic evaluation. The doctor reported the mother had a good-faith reason for the move, since her new husband and his kids lived in the other state, and his business was there. The mother had proposed enough contact with the father so that they could keep up that relationship and the move didn’t harm the children’s best interests, since they’d get the same opportunities if they were in Texas. Other than leaving their father, the other factor weighing against the move was their large extended family on both sides in New Jersey, but they had already been incorporated into the new husband’s extended family. The doctor recommended the mother be allowed to move.

The father retained a different attorney and another doctor, who didn’t consider the same criteria as the court-appointed doctor under Baures. He used a best interests analysis and gave the opinion it was in the kids’ best interests to stay in New Jersey. The first doctor agreed that under the best interests standard, it was in the kids’ best interests to stay, but there weren’t enough contraindications to stop the plaintiff from relocating under the Baures criteria. The reports were both admitted into evidence, but neither was specifically mentioned by the court when it allowed the relocation.

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kid on motorcycleIn a recent New Jersey appellate decision, the defendant appealed after a lower court awarded legal custody to her child’s father and modified parenting time and child support. The plaintiff and defendant had never gotten married, but they were involved romantically and had a child in 2009. They ended their relationship in 2010.

In 2011, a lower court granted the father visitation on every other weekend and one weekday night a week. He was responsible for picking up the child and dropping the child off. He had to pay child support based on an earlier order in the amount of $800 each month, although the amount was decided without consideration of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. Custody issues weren’t addressed.

The defendant lived in New Jersey at the time of the order and in 2015 relocated to live with her boyfriend. She enrolled the child in school but didn’t put the father on the emergency contact list. The father moved to modify the order and asked for joint legal custody and reduced child support. He also sought to claim the child on his tax returns and modify parenting time.

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father and daughterIn a recent New Jersey appellate case, a father appealed an order that suspended a therapeutic reunification process with his daughters that was being conducted through Skype. The order awarded the defendant’s former wife attorneys’ fees, penalized the defendant with a $10,000 penalty, and required the defendant to give information about his convictions for financial fraud.

The case arose after the parties married in 1999. The defendant was English, and the plaintiff was Canadian. They lived in England until the plaintiff relocated to the United States with their two daughters, who were 17 and 15 at the time of the appellate court’s opinion. The defendant stayed behind in England and was put in jail for 2 1/2 years for financial fraud.

While in prison, the defendant threatened the plaintiff over the telephone. As a result, the court entered a final restraining order under the Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17-to-35. Under the order, the defendant wasn’t permitted to contact the plaintiff or their kids. An amended order was later issued, allowing the defendant to have contact with his kids in letters. Reunification visitation therapy was supposed to start. The result was Skype sessions. The defendant started treatment for psychiatric issues, and a reunification therapist was appointed. The defendant’s mother came to New Jersey to visit the kids once.

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daddy-reading-behind-1432160-e1491948926277In a recent New Jersey appeal, a father asked the court to review a trial court order that denied his motion to reduce his child support payments, denied him vacation parenting time, and ordered him and his son to participate in reunification therapy as a prerequisite to parenting time.

The couple separated after a nine-year relationship during which they had a child. The plaintiff/mother was a store manager. The defendant/father was a French citizen who’d lived in the country since age 25, and who worked as an IT manager. The defendant and plaintiff visited the defendant’s parents in France each year.

The couple’s relationship began to have problems in 2011, and the defendant claimed it was because the plaintiff began seeing a coworker romantically. He traveled to French Polynesia in 2012, and the plaintiff didn’t go. They separated the next year, and entered into a consent order that granted joint legal custody to both of them with primary residential custody to the plaintiff and parenting time to the defendant. The order stated that if the father wanted to travel internationally with their child, he’d need to give the mother 20 days notice. The court also set a weekly child support obligation that the father would have to pay.

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