A primary residential parent’s request to relocate from the State is one of the most difficult issues that family court systems face. Often the rights of a noncustodial parent to be an active part of a child’s life conflict with a custodial parent’s desire to start a new life post-divorce. New Jersey law allows a custodial parent to remove a child to another state with the consent of the other parent or with a court order.
If the non-custodial parent agrees to the move, he or she should provide written consent to the primary residential parent. If the non-custodial parent does not consent, the primary residential parent must request a court order allowing the move. If the custodial parent file a motion to remove the child to another state, he or she first must show that there is a good faith reason to move. A good faith reason may be a better employment position or the support of relatives in another state. The primary residential parent also has to propose a reasonable parenting plan to foster the relationship between the children and the other parent. The plan must include reasonable transportation arrangements and specify who will pay the costs.
A non-custodial parent who does not want the child to leave can respond to the motion stating the reasons why the child should not leave New Jersey. These reasons may involve concerns about parenting time and the child’s safety, health, education, or general welfare. If the primary residential parent states an intent to move in the near future or moves without consent or an order, the non-custodial parent may ask the court to enter a temporary, emergency order prohibiting the custodial parent from moving the child out of the state. If you require assistance with a child relocation matter, consult with an experienced family law attorney.