Can I move out of New Jersey with my child?
If you are involved in a move-away dispute, it is important to contact an attorney to help reach an agreement with your ex-spouse for you and your child.
There are many reasons to move to another state, such as family matters, medical concerns, or a new job opportunity. When a divorced parent wants to move away to another state, custody of his or her child may be an issue. In New Jersey, the non-custodial parent may move out of the state at any time. However, the same is not true for the custodial parent. There are laws in place that dictate when a custodial parent may move out of state with his or her child.
New Jersey statute governs when a custodial parent may permanently move to another state with his or her minor child (N.J.S.A. 9:2-2). According to this “removal” statue, when parents are divorced or separated, the non-custodial parent must consent to the move. Absent the non-custodial parent’s consent, the custodial parent may relocate with the child only with a court order granting permission for the move.
It is important to the court that moving the child will not negatively affect the child’s relationship with the other parent (non-custodial parent remaining in New Jersey). For that reason, the parent making the motion to the court must show that the move is in good faith. This means that the parent has a good reason for relocating out of state and does not want to move simply to hurt the child’s relationship with the other parent. Some common good faith reasons may be caring for a sick parent, a new job or moving in order to remarry.
The petitioner must also show the court a plan for how the child will continue to have a strong relationship with the other parent. The plan should include when and how the child will visit the other parent, transportation options for visitation, and who will pay the expenses. The plan may also include other communication alternatives like phone calls, email, and video chatting.
In addition, the non-custodial parent will have an opportunity to respond to the custodial parent’s motion and provide the court with reasons why he or she believes the move is not in good faith. This may include any concerns the parent has about the child’s health, safety, welfare, or maintaining a strong relationship with the child.
Factors considered by the court
When deciding if the custodial parent may relocate the child out of state, the court will consider the information provided by both parents. Some factors the court may take into account include the following:
- The custodial parent’s reasons for the move and the non-custodial parent’s reasons against the move
- The child’s preferences, if the child is of a suitable age to consent (typically age 14 or older)
- The child’s best interests, including education, healthcare, and special needs resources (if applicable) in both states
- The proposed visitation plan/schedule and if it will foster a strong relationship with the non-custodial parent
- The parents’ relationship with each other and ability to help maintain a strong relationship with each parent
- Any other factors in the child’s best interests based on the circumstances
If the court determines that the move is in good faith, in the child’s best interests and will not adversely impact the non-custodial parent’s rights, the visitation plan may be adjusted or modified to allow for the move.
Any child custody matters can be emotionally draining. Move-away disputes can be particularly complicated and heated. If you want to relocate with your child or are against your ex-spouse doing so, contact an attorney at The Montanari Law Group. We can answer your questions and work toward the best solution for you and your family.
Keywords: child custody, relocation, move-away