Answer: "You don't want one."
What happens if your spouse wants to permanently move your child to a state other than New Jersey?
Our NJ statutes have made it clear for decades that either the other spouse's consent or an order of a NJ Superior Court Judge is required before such a permanant move can be allowed to occur.
Since 1988, the NJ Courts have been making it easier for custodial parents to make such a move. That may have changed dramatically last week.
On August 8, 2017 the New Jersey Supreme Court rewrote the law on what is required when one parent wants to move children from the state of New Jersey on a permanent basis without the other parent's consent.
Topics: Child Custody
A new client recently hired me and asked me to "serve" divorce papers on his wife that same day.
I explained to him that his request would be very difficult, and probably impossible, to do.
His request made me realize that there is confusion about what it means to serve divorce papers in New Jersey.
Let me explain.
Before divorce papers can be "served," they must first be created and then filed with the Court.
Divorce proceedings in NJ begin with your lawyer preparing your divorce complaint.
The complaint states your NJ Grounds for Divorce. It gives the judge the reasons that you are asking for a divorce (most of the time the reasons given are "irreconciliable differences," but not always.)
Once the divorce complaint has been prepared by your lawyer, it is sent to the county courthouse to be filed (that is, received by a courthouse employee and stamped with the word "filed," and assigned a case number known as a docket number.)
By having a docket number assigned to it, there is now a place to file your papers at the county courthouse. It's kind of like having a locker at the local beach club... you know, a place to store your stuff... well, maybe not exactly the same, but you get the idea.
The divorce complaint, now bearing that all important court-assigned case number, (i.e. the docket number) is then returned to your lawyer so that he can arrange for proper "service" upon your spouse, who is now known as the defendant.
I get asked all the time, "What is joint custody in NJ? What does it really mean in practical terms to me?"
The bottom line is that in New Jersey, there are two broad types of custody.
Physical custody deals with where the child lives, and legal custody deals with who makes major decisions for the child.
"Why won't the other divorce attorney negotiate?"
That's what Barbara asked me.
"Steve," she said, "we've been trying to get them to respond to our settlement proposal that I asked you to draft 2 months ago and that you mailed to them 2 months ago. No response.
We've been trying to get them to attend a four way conference to begin a dialogue. No response.
You call and leave messages for his attorney to call you back. You do not get the courtesy of a return call.
Why can't you get the other attorney to negotiate?"
Barbara is a really nice lady.
She didn't deserve the treatment that her husband gave her.
She knew that he had affairs but she did not want the divorce.
Ultimately her husband left her for another woman.
When I'm representing the person who doesn't want the divorce or who doesn't care about it or just wants to be left alone, I don't get the phone calls like the one that I got from Barbara.
- The Coronavirus has created a surge of parenting time emergencies that are crying out for an effective and immediate resolution.But the physical courthouses are temporarily closed.And although judges are available by phone in emergencies, many judges are not viewing these cases as emergencies.