In a new, published (precedential) decision, J.G. v. J.H.Judge Koblitz, of the Appellate Division confirmed and explicitly held what we all should have known before:  No matter what type of case, the same rules apply with respect to discovery and investigation, and the trial court judge is under the same obligation to apply

We have blogged about the issue of relocation (removal) with children after a divorce and the standards that a court must follow.  To see our prior posts, click here, here and here.  The considerations are different if the parties have a truly shared parenting plan or if the non-custodial parent has something less than 50-50.  In the latter instance, the move must be made in good faith and not inimical to the child(rens) best interests (and there are numerous factors set forth in the Baures v. Lewis case that a court must consider. For true shared parenting cases, moves are more difficult because a more stringent best interests analysis is employed. On top of that, it is not enough that the parties designate their arrangement as joint or shared custody, the case law post-Baures made clear that it was the actual parenting time that mattered not what the parties described to to be.

Against that backdrop, we turn to the unreported (non-precedential) Appellate Division in the case of Walsh-Morales v. Morales decided on November 5, 2010.  In this case, post-divorce, the mother sought to re-marry and move to Texas with the parties’ daughter.  The father moved to bar the move, seeking sole custody if the mother moved.  The mother asserted that she was the primary residential parent- the father asserted that there was true shared parenting.

The trial court determined that there was true shared parenting, denied the mother’s request to relocate and directed that the father be the primary parent if the mother moved.  The mother appealed not necessarily as to the law applied, but rather, as to the factual determination that the parties had true shared parenting.


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We have numerous prior blogs about the “changed circumstances” analysis employed by the Court in determining whether there should be a change in custody from one parent to the other. However, sometimes, litigants misunderstand the “changed circumstances” concept. Litigants often make the mistake of assuming that personal improvements in their lives will bring about a change

After a Parenting Time/Visitation Order is entered, as time goes, often there are variations in the parenting schedule.  For example, the children’s activities or a parent’s work schedule may warrant modifications of parenting time between the parties.  It is often mistaken that such variations may be enough to return to Court and obtain a switch in custodial parents. 

What happens if a parent throws a teenage child out of the home and continues to collect child support? In short – sanctions. Those were the facts in a recent unpublished New Jersey Appellate Division decision, Lidon v. Lidon, Appellate Division, docket no. A-3355-08T3, decided December 28, 2009.

In Lidon, James and Jean Lidon were divorced in 1997.  Both parents were practicing attorneys. They had two children who resided with Jean. James paid $337 per week in child support to Jean.  The eldest child, a senior in high school, allegedly had a drug and alcohol problem. As a result, Jean threw their son out of her home in the summer of 2007.  This child subsequently lived with friends, in his car, and finally with Jean’s former boyfriend. He finished the school year and was accepted into Lehigh University.


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