Does Sole Custody Give Me the Right to Relocate?

Does Sole Custody Give Me the Right to Relocate?Custodial Parent Rights


Custody awards a parent certain rights. Physical custody grants a parent the right to live with his or her child. Legal custody grants the parent decision-making rights. Having sole custody means you are the only parent with that right but does not mean the non-custodial parent doesn’t have an interest in your decisions. The decision to relocate with your child is one that the non-custodial parent may have a say in.

Custody vs. Parenting Time Rights

If you have sole physical custody, you have the exclusive right to live with your child. But the non-custodial parent may have parenting time rights. With parenting time rights, the parent has the right to visit with your child for an appropriate amount of time. Parenting time differs from physical custody because it does not give the parent the right to live with the child. The child may still have overnights with the non-custodial parent, though.

A common parenting time arrangement for a non-custodial parent is visitation with the child every other weekend. If the custodial parent relocates, however, this visitation could be affected. For this reason, you cannot relocate with your child without first seeking the permission of the non-custodial parent or from the court. To ask the court, you must demonstrate you have a good faith reason for relocating, such as a better job or to be closer to family, and that the relocation is in your child’s best interests. Because the non-custodial parent’s parenting time could be hindered by your relocation, this request is taken seriously by the court. The court will consider many factors when making such a decision such as how the relocation will affect parenting time, how your child will be transported between your two houses and your motive for relocating.

If you want to relocate, even if you have sole custody, you will need to speak with an experienced child custody attorney. It is important for you to understand your rights as a sole custodial parent as well as the rights of the non-custodial parent before you make such a request. An attorney can assist you with demonstrating why a relocation would be in your child’s best interests.


If you need to relocate, Williams Law Group, LLC can assist you. The skilled attorneys at Williams Law Group, LLC will help you navigate the process of modifying a parenting time schedule that is in your child’s best interests. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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