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Landmark Decision Changes NJ Child Relocation Law

Attorney Paul H. Townsend presents his arguments to the New Jersey Supreme Court in Bisbing v Bisbing

On Tuesday, in a landmark decision THAT WILL IMPACT ALL NEW JERSEY PARENTS SEEKING TO RELOCATE, the New Jersey Supreme Court modified the Appellate Division and created a new standard of review when a parent seeks to remove the children to another state.

 

The conflict arose when the mother sought to relocate to Utah, the home state of her (now) husband.  The father objected to the removal of the parties’ two children.  Upon the mother’s application for relocation, the trial court authorized the move.  The father appealed, and the Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision, holding that if father could prove the mother negotiated the parties’ custody agreement in bad faith, the court should use the best interests of the child, not the standard set forth under Baures v. Lewis.  If the father could not prove bad faith, the mother would nevertheless have to prove a substantial unanticipated change in circumstance prior to moving forward under Baures.

 

Paul H. Townsend, of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C., the firm who represented the mother beginning with the initial relocation application, successfully argued the case for the mother, causing the Supreme Court to modify the Appellate Division’s arbitrary, subjective and unworkable standard.   The Supreme Court found “special justification” to depart from the Baures standard, finding Baures was no longer supported by social science or the trend in the law.

 

Attorney Paul Townsend stated “The Bisbing decision is a victory for all parents in that it modifies the Appellate Division’s subjective and frankly unworkable standards; that the non-moving party must prove that there was ‘bad faith’ in the negotiation of the agreement, and if they are unable to do so, then the moving party must prove a ‘substantial and unanticipated change in circumstance’. This decision focuses the court on where it should be always, the best interests of the children.”

 

Moving forward, the best interests of the child standard will be used across the board for all cases involving parents with joint legal custody.  Mr. Townsend is available to discuss the ramifications of this monumental case and can be reached at (973) 539-0075 for comment and family law counsel.

Child Support and Planning for College Expenses

According to the recently passed New Jersey law S-1046/A-2721, effective February 2017, all New Jersey child support agreements will automatically terminate when the child reaches the age of 19, unless the parents specify otherwise in their Morris County child support agreement. As this is the age that many children will begin attending university, accounting for the… Continue Reading

Ensuring Full and Accurate Financial Information during Divorce

During any divorce, it is critical that your Morris County divorce attorney has a complete and accurate picture of your marital finances so that they can help you to fairly decide issues such as child support, alimony, and most importantly, division of marital assets and debt. When both spouses participated in the management of family… Continue Reading

What Do I Do if I Can’t Pay My Child Support?

Raising a child in today’s society is an expensive venture. From the time a child is born, until the time they graduate college, parents are financially responsible for all of their children’s needs including food, clothing, shelter, and education. When the parents of a child divorce, this can place an extra strain on the finances… Continue Reading

The Benefits of Having a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements often carry a somewhat negative connotation amongst newlyweds or couples soon to be married. Many of these people believe that by signing a prenuptial agreement, or even discussing one, you are saying you believe your marriage will eventually fail and result in a divorce. The truth of the matter however, is that prenuptial agreements… Continue Reading

How to Divorce an Abusive Spouse

Spousal abuse and domestic violence can take many forms, and can be difficult for the victim to extract themselves from the situation. People fear that filing for a divorce will only antagonize the abuser, and push them to committing further acts of abuse. However, New Jersey law provides many protections for victims of domestic violence… Continue Reading

Paying Child Support Directly to the Child

Child support is a critical component of any Morris County divorce settlement involving children. Child support is designed by law to protect the child’s best interests, but is usually paid directly to the custodial parent. Many of our Morris County child support clients ask us if it is possible to pay child support directly to… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules on Military Retirement Pay and Marital Property Division (Howell v Howell)

On May 15, 2017, the US Supreme Court decided on the case of Howell v Howell (no. 15-1031). This important ruling held that when an armed services veteran waives retirement pay in order to collect service-related disability payments, federal law prevents state courts from ordering the veteran to compensate their divorced spouse for that spouse’s loss… Continue Reading

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