Child Custody, Visitation & Relocation

Child Relocation Case To Georgia From New Jersey Fails The Best Interest Of Child Test

In the child custody child relocation case of Hammond vs. Hammond, (App. Div. 20-2-5400); the plaintiff mother appealed from an order of the Family Part which denied her motion to relocate with her then-eight-year-old daughter, G.H., to Atlanta, Georgia. After a hearing, the motion judge concluded that removal of the child to Georgia would be inimical to G.H.’s best interests. The court found defendant father is actively involved in G.H.’s life; he enjoys regular unplanned visits with G.H.; G.H. has a close relationship with defendant’s extended family; defendant takes full advantage of opportunities to see G.H., and is restricted only by his work schedule; and separation would be a “considerable change” to G.H.’s relationship with her father. The panel rejected plaintiff’s argument that the trial court improperly applied generic “best interests” standard for relocation, which applies only if the parents share joint physical custody, instead of the proper two-prong Baures test. The trial court applied the proper two-prong test. The judge’s conclusion that the potential benefits of the move were not substantial enough to jeopardize G.H.’s relationship with both her parents and extended family was supported by the record and was consistent with the applicable principles of relocation law. The appellate panel affirmed the court’s order denying plaintiff’s motion.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 219 N.J.L.J.100 (January 12, 2015)

Filed Under: Child Relocation; Child Custody; Family Law

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