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In New Jersey, if I am the custodial parent, can I relocate with my children?

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Robyn E. Ross - Family Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Robyn E. Ross

Located in Mountainside, NJRoss & Calandrillo, LLC

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Answer

You and your former partner both have a right to continue your parental relationship with your children. That is an important factor, and it will affect your ability to relocate. You have the right to move, but you must have the consent of the other parent or a court order.

Before issuing the order, the court will ask how the move will impact your children and if both parents will be able to maintain relationships with the children. They will also ask how long the children lived in New Jersey.

If they were born in New Jersey and have lived here at least five years, the noncustodial parent must agree to the move. If they do not agree, you will need to file an application with the court. The court will then determine if the move is in the best interest of the children.

The approval will also depend on where you want to move. A move one town away is more likely to be approved than a cross-country relocation.

A good faith parenting plan is required

You should prepare a good faith parenting plan that allows the noncustodial parent to maintain their ability to parent. That should include a workable visitation plan. If the noncustodial parent rejects the plan, the court will require them to suggest workable solutions.

The court’s final decision will be based on what works best for your children.

It could be affected by:

  • If your child has any special needs or talents that can best be accommodated in one of the locations
  • A parenting plan that encourages parenting relationships
  • The impact on the extended family
  • The child’s preferences (if they are old enough and mature enough to make these decisions)
  • Whether the child is going to be a high school student
  • The noncustodial parent’s ability to relocate

Relocation with your children is more difficult than it used to be

Before recent legislation, relocating with children in New Jersey was easy, and a court order was not required. The court now wants to ensure both parents’ bond is maintained and that your child’s best interests are met. A family law attorney can help ensure all those standards are met.

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