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How a court will rule on a relocation case

When parents end a relationship with someone they have a child with (whether it is a divorce or romantic break-up), moving away to start a new life is a common occurrence. For the parent that is potentially being left behind, this can lead to a bevy of hard feelings. After all, having a child taken from a parent’s life can be emotionally devastating. Not to mention that a parent’s legal rights may be violated as well.

Because of this possibility, New Jersey law requires a custodial parent to seek the court’s permission before moving with the child to another jurisdiction. Family court judges have an interest in preserving relationships between non-custodial parents and their children.

Relocation cases are determined upon how the court views the move through the lens of the “best interests of the child” standard. This means that the court will consider a number of factors in deciding whether to allow a parent’s move, including:

-          How far away the moving parent will be going (i.e. within the same county, region or state)

-          The custodial parent’s reasons for moving, as well as the non-custodial parent’s reasons for opposing such a move

-          Whether the move will significantly affect the non-custodial parent’s time with the child

-          Whether the move will enhance the custodial parent’s (and the child’s) quality of life (i.e. permanent housing, proximity to school and family)

-          Depending on their age, the children’s preferences.

Relocation (i.e. move away cases) are inherently fact specific, so it may not be helpful to base the potential success of your move (or the possibility of preventing one) on what you have learned about someone else’ case.  If you have questions about moving to another county or state with a child, it would be helpful to consult an experienced family law attorney.

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