Relocating with a Minor Child after a New Jersey Divorce

Child Relocation in New JerseyThings change—it’s just a fact of life. Maybe you’ve been through a divorce and there are minor children involved and you’ve set up custody and visitation, all based on the assumption that you’ll both live close enough to each other that it will work out. But then something happens—you get offered a promotion or a new job, but it’s in another part of the state or the country. Maybe a family member has health problems and you want to move to be close to them. What about custody and visitation? Can you pick up move for any reason? Can you relocate at all?

Moving Away from Your Ex in New Jersey

The first thing to remember is that all decisions about custody and visitation in New Jersey must be based primarily on what the court considers to be the “best interests of the child.” Accordingly, whether a move will be beneficial to one of the parents is not a primary concern. Furthermore, New Jersey courts tend to believe that the child’s best interests are served by having both parents close by.

Under New Jersey law, if your minor child was born in the state or has lived in New Jersey for at least five years, you must obtain either the permission of the other parent or the approval of the court to relocate out of state. The same requirement will apply to a move within the state, if the distance is sufficient to necessitate a change in the existing parenting plan.

In the absence of consent from the other parent, the court will look at a number of factors to determine whether a move would be in the best interests of the child:

  • The likelihood that the custodial parent will allow, encourage and facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent
  • The effect the move will have on the relationship between all parties and between extended families
  • The child’s preferences (typically only if the child has reached sufficient age and maturity, often 12 years of age)
  • Whether the child would be moving when entering the last year of high school
  • Whether the child has needs or talents that mandate accommodations, and whether such accommodations exist in the destination

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

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