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Out-of-Country Custody Issues

August 7, 2015 | Posted In Family Law - Family Law |

A New Jersey mother has been granted permission to take her child to the Netherlands on vacation this summer, despite protests raised by her ex-husband about the trip in court. In a ruling from the New Jersey Superior Court, the vacation is not in violation of the existing custody agreement between the two parents and does not present a risk that the mother will not return with the child.                                             

In Lyle v. Lyle, Family Part Judge L.R. Jones ruled that “travel for summer vacation is an extremely important, special, and time-honored part of family life.” As such, the six-year old child will be allowed to travel to Holland where his maternal grandparents live and spend nine weeks visiting there. His mother’s original plan was to travel with her son to Holland, spend two weeks visiting her family and then return home to Ocean County while her son spent the duration of his vacation with his grandparents.

The father filed a lawsuit to try and stop her, claiming that he feared his ex-wife would “refuse to return the child to the United States.” However, Judge Jones found that the mother had never exhibited any behaviors that would indicate she wanted to kidnap her child and remove him from his father’s care. While the judge noted that the mother’s vacation plans would keep the father from seeing his son for an extended period of time, she did approve the vacation itself.

New Jersey Custody Laws and Out-of-Country Travels

The state of New Jersey maintains jurisdiction over children who live there, with some exceptions. Any child for whom the state holds jurisdiction must receive consent from both parents in order to be removed from the state, unless an Order of the Court has been issued. Even for a summer vacation or a weekend road trip, parents who share custody must obtain the other party’s permission before hitting the road.

If one parent plans a vacation outside the state, he or she needs to get the other parent’s written consent before the trip can take place. If the other parent refuses to consent, the vacationing parent must file an application with the state Courts for permission to take the vacation over the other parent’s objection.

According to the Court Rules, the parent must file this motion at least 24 days before the Court will hear the case. So if a parent plans to take a vacation on August 1st, he or she needs to get the legal paperwork started more than 24 days before leaving to allow time for the court proceedings and ruling.

For vacations outside the United States, it is important to have everything settled several months before the trip, if at all possible. The written agreement or the court order is required to allow a child to leave the country.

At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, we help parents who share custody of their children determine the best ways to handle vacations and breaks. To discuss your travel plans and the steps you should take to ensure smooth sailing, contact a New Jersey family law attorney at HCK today.

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