In the aftermath of a divorce, it’s not uncommon for one of the parties to want to relocate, either to be close to family, to take a new job or a promotion, or just to get a change of scenery. If there are no minor children involved, that’s generally not a problem. However, when there are children still in the marital home at the time of the divorce, and the person who wants to move has physical custody, the process can be difficult.
The first thing to understand is that the court will always give priority to the best interests of the minor children—the parents’ needs are generally secondary. One of the fundamental objectives of the court is to ensure that children have meaningful interaction and contact with both parents. That objective can be difficult to attain if one of the parents lives a significant distance from the child.
Here’s how New Jersey customarily views the relocation of a parent in a divorce proceeding:
- A non-custodial parent is generally free to move away from the minor child, but there will be no change in the support obligation of the noncustodial parent. However, if the parties have joint physical custody—where the children spend an equal amount of time physically present with the parent—the parent will typically need the permission of the other parent to move.
- A custodial parent must obtain permission from the other parent or the court to relocate to another state, or to relocate within the state in a way that alters an existing visitation order.
If no custody order has been signed yet, a parent with possession of a minor child can take that child away from the area on a short trip without permission from the other parent or the court. If the other parent objects, however, it is advisable not to take the child out of the area unless you obtain a court order allowing you to do so. Otherwise, you may face challenges when it comes time to put a custody and visitation order in place.
Contact Our Office
To schedule a free, 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your concerns, send us an e-mail or call our office at 201-289-8906. All calls and e-mails are returned within 24 hours. We’ll be at your side every step of the way.