New Rules for Removal of Children to Another State

On August 8, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the case of Bisbing v. Bisbing, thereby abandoning the benchmark standard that has guided New Jersey courts since 2001 when the court issued its opinion in Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001).  From 2001 until the recent decision in Bisbing, a custodial parent could permanently relocated outside of New Jersey by showing 1) a good faith reason for the move, and 2) that the move would not be harmful to the child.  This relaxed standard has now been abandoned and replaced by a more stringent test.  In deciding removal applications, New Jersey Family Courts will now be guided by a “best interests” standard. This new standard makes it more difficult to permanently move children out of state over the objections of the other parent.  The decision in Bisbing demonstrates how the law evolves to meet changing societal norms, and how it is willing to reverse itself when a prior rule proved to be unfair in its application.