New Jersey Child Custody and Relocation Laws

After parents get a divorce, the custodial parent might want to move with their child for several reasons. For example, a parent might want to move because of a new job or a new marriage. In New Jersey, a parent cannot just pack their things and move with their child unless they are relocating somewhere close by, and the move will not affect the existing parenting plan. However, even in such a case, it is best to consult an attorney before moving. When it comes to moving a child out of state, laws are in place to balance the custodial parent’s right to move with their child and the other parent’s right to maintain a close and ongoing relationship with their child. It is vital for parents to understand the laws governing child custody and relocation in New Jersey.

New Jersey Child Relocation Laws

In New Jersey, if a custodial parent wants to move their child out of state, they need permission from the other parent or the court. This rule applies to all minor children born in NJ or who have lived in the state for at least five years. Of course, the easiest way for a custodial parent to move with their child would be to ask the non-custodial parent for permission. Both parents can agree and sign a consent order showing they agree to the move and any applicable parenting plan changes that may occur as a result. If the non-custodial parent refuses to allow the move, the custodial parent can then proceed to ask the court to grant them permission to relocate. 

New Jersey’s child relocation laws are governed by the court decision in Bisbing v. Bisbing (2017)In this case, the mother wanted to move to Utah with her daughters because she was getting married to someone in Utah. The mother asked the children’s father for permission to move, but he declined. The mother took the case to court, and the judge ruled in her favor, stating that the request was made in good faith and the move would not harm the children. The father filed an appeal, and the NJ Supreme Court decided that the fairest way to decide the issue of relocating with a child is to apply the “best interest of the child” standard. Under this standard, the parent seeking to relocate with their child must prove that the move is in the best interests of the child. 

Best Interests of a Child Factors

When determining whether a move is in a child’s best interests, the court is required to consider several factors, including the following:

  • the child’s interaction with parents and siblings
  • the child’s needs
  • the quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • the child’s and other parent’s safety from abuse by the other parent
  • the child’s reasonable preference
  • the parents’ employment responsibilities

Generally, a New Jersey court can consider any factors they deem relevant to the specific case. 

Contact a New Jersey Family Attorney

If you are planning to move with your child or need help fighting a relocation request, contact a qualified New Jersey family attorney at the Trabosh Law Firm. We understand how stressful relocation disputes can be for parents and children. You can count on us to prepare your case carefully and help you fight for the best possible outcome.

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