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How Relocating With Kids Works In New Jersey

After your divorce has been finalized, you may be wondering — like many others who are unfamiliar with the boundaries of New Jersey family law — what the limitations are on one’s geographic location as it pertains to their child custody and child visitation rights. Relocation of a custodial (or joint custody) parent can fundamentally change a preexisting custody arrangements. The heightened financial issues, time and effort burden can interfere substantially with the ability of each parent to “hold up their end” of the custodial bargain.

New Jersey law does not necessarily prohibit a custodial parent from moving out of state with their children. Importantly, however, the custodial parent is not granted perfect freedom to relocate — certain criteria must first be met. For example, a custodial parent needs to obtain permission from the ex-spouse to relocate. Failing that, a custodial parent must request and obtain the permission from a New Jersey court to relocate.

If you are the custodial parent and wish to relocate out of state, or, alternatively, if you are the noncustodial/joint-custody parent and are interested in challenging a relocation request made by your ex-spouse, then you should consult with an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney as soon as possible for guidance on the next steps. Call Joseph Nitti, Esq. of Nitti & Nitti, P.C. at 973-226-4141 today!

The experienced Essex County family law attorneys at Nitti & Nitti, P.C. have successfully represented spouses in child custody and relocation disputes throughout New Jersey, including Maplewood, Millburn and East Hanover, New Jersey.

Obtaining Permission To Relocate After A Divorce

In order for a parent to relocate with a child, he or she will have to get consent from the other parent, or obtain permission to relocate from a New Jersey court. Of course, ex-spouses may find themselves at an impasse during negotiations and might not be able to come to an agreement in which consent is granted.

When the relocating parent cannot get consent from the other parent, New Jersey law entitles the relocating parent to request permission to relocate from a court. The test for whether a court will grant permission to relocate differs, depending on how custody is split between the parents. If the parents have joint physical and legal custody, the court will have to assess whether the children’s best interests are being promoted by changing the custodial arrangement so as to grant the relocating parent primary custody. If the relocating parent already has primary custody, however, the court’s assessment must take into account additional factors.

In determining whether to grant such permission to relocate, the court will assess whether:

  1. The parent has demonstrated a good faith justification for having to relocate (i.e., for their career or for any other valid reason)
  2. The relocation will negatively affect the best interests of the relocated children

Several factors influence this determination. The skilled Essex County and Morris County child custody lawyers at Nitti & Nitti, P.C. are familiar with how to navigate these complicated waters and obtain a favorable result for their clients.

Speak With A New Jersey Family Law Lawyer Today

Sometimes, relocation can be necessary. However, in situations involving ex-spouses and child custody arrangements, what may initially seem a rather simple matter can quickly spiral out of control. If you are requesting permission to relocate, or if you are challenging your ex-spouse’s relocation request, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney for proper legal guidance and support. Call Joseph Nitti, Esq. of Nitti & Nitti, P.C. at 973-226-4141, or fill out the online contact form, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey child custody attorneys.