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What Divorced Parents Need to Know About Relocating With Children

After a divorce, it’s not uncommon for a parent holding primary custody to make the decision to relocate with their children. Any custody order entered into in New Jersey may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances. However, if a parent wishes to move to a distant location that would affect parenting time, the court will consider whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child.

New Jersey courts take parenting time very seriously. Unless it would be detrimental to the child or place them in harm’s way, each parent has the legal right to spend time with their child, regardless of where they live. Sometimes also known as “visitation,” parenting time is an essential component of any child custody arrangement and is a right that is entitled to be protected.

As such, a parent must obtain permission from the court or the other parent before relocating to a different state with the child. If both parents can reach an agreement regarding a new custody arrangement, a court still must approve the changes in order for the agreement to be enforceable. If the other parent will not consent to the change, a motion, on notice to the other parent, will need to be filed with the court and a judge will consider evidence on both sides to make a determination. The same process must be followed if a move within the state would significantly affect parenting time.

In contested cases, New Jersey courts will consider whether “cause” has been shown to authorize the child’s relocation. The court will look to what is in the best interests of the child when both parents share joint legal custody, regardless of with whom the child lives primarily. Even if a parent’s decision to relocate is legitimate — and the move would not harm the child — the child’s best interests are first and foremost. In addition, children may not be relocated out of state against their consent if they are considered of suitable age to make the choice.

Martone Law Group, LLC provides reliable counsel for New Jersey child custody cases and a wide variety of family law matters throughout Camden, Burlington, Gloucester and Atlantic counties. Call 856-432-4587 or contact us online at our Haddon Heights Office.