Individuals often experience a wide array of changes after the divorce. From new relationships to new jobs, these significant life events can represent an upheaval in the agreements and compromises negotiated during the divorce process. A parent receiving a career, housing or educational opportunity in another state must follow a strict legal process before a relocation is possible.
While New Jersey recognizes the need for parental relocation, there are certain limitations to respect. If the non-custodial parent would like to move out of the state, the court generally approves this if the parents can work through any parenting-time or custody issues. If the custodial parent would like to relocate to another state, there are numerous factors that must be considered, including:
- Does the child need any specialized medical treatment that is available in the new state, but not New Jersey?
- Is the child exhibiting exceptional intelligence and programs in the new state, rather than New Jersey, encourage this cognitive growth?
- Is the child exhibiting exceptional talent in a sport and the new state has a higher level of competition than New Jersey offers?
Additionally, the court will examine any history of custody interference, a history of domestic violence, parental fitness, employment responsibilities and the quality of time spent together.
The custodial parent must provide factual information that forms the argument that the relocation is in the child’s best interest. From explaining the reasons for the move – a new job opportunity or to be closer to family – the non-custodial parent can counter this by providing their own statement. The court will review both statements and will hold a hearing for each parent to provide proof of the factual statements in their submitted documents.
It might take some time for a newly divorced parent to smooth over any rough spots in their new life. It is wise to take your time and carefully follow the legal process when making any type of change.