Adjusting to life after a divorce or separation is a difficult process, emotionally and financially. This is even truer if you and your former spouse or partner share children together. You and the other parent will need to learn how to co-parent even though you are no longer romantically involved and residing together. With all of this change, it is no surprise that many clients may want to relocate after a divorce or separation. This leads many people to wonder whether they are allowed by New Jersey law to relocate with their child.
The first thing that the relocating parent needs to understand is that under New Jersey statute § 9:2-2, the custodial parent cannot simply pick up and move out of state with the child. Instead, the parent needs the permission of either the other parent or a court order allowing relocation with the child. This means that the custodial parent will have to provide notice of the upcoming move to the noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent objects, then the custodial parent will have to seek a new court order allowing the relocation. When deciding on whether the custodial parent can move out of state with the child, the court will look to what is in the child’s best interest. In Bisbing v. Bisbing, the New Jersey Supreme Court listed the factors to be considered, which include issues such as the parenting time the parents have under the current our, the needs of the child, the stability of each home, and the physical proximity of the parents’ homes.
The relocating parents also need to understand that simply having current primary custody of the children is by no means a guarantee that he or she will be able to take the child and move. Especially where the parents already spend substantially equal time with the children, the children are thriving in the current community, and/or the children have strong relationships with the other family in the current area; it is less likely the court will approve out of state relocation.
Relocation within the state of New Jersey is not governed by the same rules. A custodial parent does not need court approval for a move inside the state of New Jersey. That said, either parent may still seek to modify the current order based on the relocation if the relocation leads to a substantial change of circumstances. Such as when, for example, the move would make it impossible or difficult for the parties to continue using their current parenting schedule.
We have extensive experience assisting our clients with relocation cases, regardless of whether the client is the one relocating or standing in opposition to the move. Call us today for a consultation to talk about your children.
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