When a Custodial Parent Seeks to Move Out of State

One of the most heart-wrenching experiences for a non-custodial parent after a divorce is the decision by the custodial parent to move with the children out of state. This often creates serious visitation complications, and it is important to understand what your rights are, both as custodial and non-custodial parent, when such a move is sought.

When is a Move Allowed?

Under New Jersey law, a custodial parent can only move out of state either with the consent of the other parent, or when a court order grants permission. Family court judges are often reluctant to allow for such a move because of the difficulty it imposes both on the non-custodial parent and on the children who wish to be near to that parent.

If you are the custodial parent seeking a move and the non-custodial parent agrees, you will want to get that consent in writing. Our attorneys are experts in divorce and family law and will help you to ensure that you achieve a legally valid agreement.

When a Court Order is Required

If the non-custodial parent is not willing to support such a move, then a court order must be obtained before the custodial parent can remove the children from the state. There is a high bar to meet here because family court judges are not keen on separating children from either parent or imposing steep burdens on visitation. Thus the custodial parent must show a good faith reason for the move, whether it be a particular job opportunity, the necessary support of other relatives, or some other reason.

If a judge is to grant such a request, arrangements will be ordered for the facilitation of visitation, including a reasonable transportation plan and an agreement as to who will pay for such. One of the divorce attorneys at Maselli Warren can help you ensure that your rights are protected in the crafting of such an agreement.


Best Interests of the Child

When considering a request for out of state move, a family court judge is always going to place the best interests of the child or children as a primary concern. So in addition to considering a good faith reason for moving, the judge will look at the educational, health, and recreational resources available to the child in each state, the preference of the child (if the child is a teenager), whether the child is in his or her senior year of high school, and any other issues that the judge deems important the best interest of the child.

Seeking Help

Whether you are a custodial parent seeking to move out of state or a non-custodial parent who wants to ensure that your rights are protected, a consultation with one of our experts in divorce and family law will help to ensure that your and your child’s best interests are secured.