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New Jersey Child Custody Law: How to Move to Another State

If you are divorced and have custody of children who still are minors, you may find yourself in a position in which you want to move out of state – with your children. If this situation exists in your life, you undoubtedly have questions about what you can and cannot do when it comes to moving out of state with your children following a divorce. You need information about New Jersey child custody laws and what can and cannot be done when it comes to moving to another state following a divorce.

Revision of Out of State Relocation Rule for New Jersey Custodial Parents

The New Jersey Supreme Court significantly revised the considerations a family court must utilize when faced with the proposition of a custodial parent who wants to move out of state with a child or children. The considerations utilized by a court apply in situations in which there is no agreement between the parents about a proposed move and the custodial parent needs to obtain a court order for such an endeavor.

As an aside, parents can agree between themselves to changing a New Jersey child custody order to permit the move of the custodial parent out of state with a child. An agreement reached between the parties does need to approved by the court.

The history of what New Jersey divorce judges must consider when making a determination pertaining to a custodial parent’s desire to move the children out of state is labored, confusing, and not really necessary for our discussion today. Suffice to say, that as of 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that a family law court must utilize the same standard in determining the propriety of a custodial parent moving out of state with the children that is applied when making an initial custody determination. That is known as the best interests of a child standard.

Specific Considerations Used in Determining the Appropriateness of an Out of State Move

In applying the best interests of a child standard when a custodial parent wants to move the children out of state, the Supreme Court noted a number of factors that come into consideration. Not all of these factors apply in every case. In the application of these elements, a court must consider the specific facts and circumstances at hand in a particular case.

A court doesn’t apply a proverbial one size fits all approach to the application of the elements enumerated here when applying the best interests of a child standard in proceedings regarding the desire of a custodial parent to move a minor to another jurisdiction outside of New Jersey.

The factors to be considered by a court in ascertaining if a move out of New Jersey is in the best interests of a child include:

  • Ability of parents to communicate
  • Ability of parents to agree and cooperate in matters associated with child
  • Consideration of any history of custodial parent interfering with parenting time of noncustodial parent
  • Willingness of custodial parent to abide by terms of existing custody order
  • State of interaction and existing relationship between child and parents (and siblings)
  • History of family violence
  • Overall safety of child
  • Preference of a child, depending on age, emotional development, and intelligence
  • Particular needs of a child
  • Stability of proposed out of state residential environment
  • Continuation and quality of child’s education at an out of state location
  • Physical, mental, and emotional health and fitness of parents
  • Proximity of proposed new residence for child and noncustodial parent’s homes
  • Quality and extent of time child historically has spent with each parent
  • Employment duties and responsibilities of parents
  • Number of children and their ages

If you are facing a relocation case call us at (201) 845-7400.

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