Parenting issues following a separation or divorce can be challenging. Not only do emotions tend to be high and sometimes cloud decision-making, but each parent may have individual goals for the child that may conflict with the other parent’s plans. This may include the decision of where to live with the child.
Generally, New Jersey family courts and those across the country are reluctant to allow one parent to move the child far away from the other. Some child custody orders may even include a specific distance the child and non-custodial parent may live from each other. This creates a complicated situation when one parent has a need or opportunity to leave the state and wants to take the child along.
Supporting your case in court
If you are facing this complex situation, you know there is no easy solution. Whether you are hoping to move with the child or you are planning to fight the relocation of your child with the other parent, you have a difficult battle ahead if you and your ex do not agree. The court’s only concern will be what is best for the child, and this should be your focus as you prepare to present your arguments in court. While every situation is unique, in general, a relocation will involve the following:
- If you are the parent planning to move, you must give written notice to the other parent within a reasonable period of time before the relocation.
- If you receive such a notice from the other parent and you object to the move, you will have a certain amount of time to respond.
- The relocating parent will have to demonstrate that the move will improve the child’s quality of life, not necessarily that it will benefit the parent.
- The court will likely want evidence that the child will attend a quality school, live in an improved neighborhood and have better opportunities that will justify separation from the other parent.
- If you want to relocate, you should be ready to present the court with a plan for allowing the other parent visitation comparable to the current plan.
- The judge may wish to hear the child’s perspective about the move, depending on how old and mature the child is.
Your careful preparation for this relocation hearing will be critical. Whether you are seeking permission to move or attempting to prevent your ex from taking the child away, having a strong presentation and skilled legal advocacy may make all the difference.