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I watched a case in N.J. where a custodial parent, the mother, wanted to move to Connecticut with her children, while the non-custodial parent, the dad, wanted his children to remain as is. When a custodial parent wants to move without their child in tow, that move wouldn’t be prevented. In move-away child custody cases, a move could be 50-miles or 5,000-plus-miles. States in America used to allow a custodial parent to move to another state with their children in tow, but now restrictions on a custodial parent exist. State law allows a parent to move to another state with their child in tow with the non-custodial parent’s consent, or with a court order granting permission. A custodial parent who moves without a court order would be charged with intervening in parenting time. The custodial parent in this case discussed her plans to move, to which the non-custodial parent resented her plans. The court needed to assess that the custodial parent wasn’t moving to lessen contact between the non-custodial parent and her children. The custodial parent claimed she wanted to move to Connecticut to be closer to relatives. This is where I learned that courts consider numerous points when determining whether to allow a move, or not. In determining where the children would live, and to what extent the other parent would maintain a relationship with them was disputed. This is when the court was determining who would meet the children’s best interests more, and considered their children’s connection to their current home, school, and community. This is where the we listened to how their children would be living in a smaller, or closer community, and how their children would be attending a school with a dramatic increase in test scores, when compared to their current school. The custodial parent was presenting evidence, and witnesses who lived in the community and a representative to the school were present via a live recording. If the custodial parent would benefit in moving, whether it is new work, then the court assumes that it would also benefit the child.When the custodial parent moves their child to another state, a non-custodial parent’s time with their child is lessened. This is what consumed this hearing the most. In a usual child custody plan, a non-custodial parent would be granted parenting time with their child on weekends, Friday evening to Sunday evening. This is the plan I was raised with. In this case, the custodial parent wanted to move with her children to Connecticut. While Connecticut wouldn’t mean purchasing a plane ticket, the distance between Bergen County, N.J. and Winchester, Connecticut is 3 hours. Driving 3 hours every Friday and Sunday would be tiring, and this is where court is important. Unless the custodial parent moves to a bordering state, removing a child to another state creates a barrier in parenting time.When a non-custodial parent isn’t close to their child, or isn’t exercising visitation, a court would allow a move. But a court will consider reasons to revoke permission to move. In this case, the non-custodial parent maintained a close relationship with his children. The non-custodial parent disputed that the move wouldn’t be in his or his children’s best interests, as it would disrupt their contact. The non-custodial parent also disputed that he would be excluded in participating in his children’s day-to-day lives. This includes missing out on aspects a parent wouldn’t view as important, until it is missing, including school, homework, or sports. On the other hand, if a court denies the custodial parent’s move-away request and the custodial parent has no choice but to move away from their current geographic location without their children, for example, in work related moves, then the child would not be separated from the non-custodial parent, but instead the custodial parent. In either situation, the child would lose out.Despite the noncustodial parent resenting the move, one factor that benefits the non-custodial parent, if a court order granted the move, would be a reasonable restructuring in visitation that would preserve and promote a good relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. Restructuring visitation involves scheduling more visitations over school breaks and during the summer. In some cases, the non-custodial parent and child could actually spend more time together each year under the restructured schedule than under the original schedule, although the restructured schedule will have less frequent periods of visitation. In this case, the non-custodial parent disputed that the frequency of contact was more important than larger blocks of time. This is an aspect that would affect the court’s decision. The court is also less likely to allow moving with a child in tow if the parents cannot afford the visits over a long distance. The cost of travel on the custodial parent was assessed, and it was proven through financial records that visitation would be affordable, but the court ruled that depending on their decision to grant the move, the non-custodial parent’s child support would be reduced in order to facilitate visits.  A decision wasn’t made in this hearing, as another hearing date for the final decision was set in order to review the evidence shown throughout the case. I expected the hearing to be boring, but since this wasn’t the initial hearing, I got to listen to more intricate summaries concerning the case. I felt as if I were watching a soap-opera, and it gave me insight into what my own parent’s experienced during their divorce and child custody hearings. I grew up visiting my dad on weekends, despite my parents living in the same town, and even on the same street at one point in time. I liked being with my dad more, as my mother was the disciplinary. In watching this case, I could sense that their divorce was bitter and that the custodial parent, the mother, at this point was looking to one-up the non-custodial parent, the dad. Based on bias, I was rooting for the dad the entire time, and while a decision wasn’t made in this hearing, I can only hope that the court ruled in his favor in the end.