After their divorces are settled, people in New Jersey and elsewhere may decide to relocate. This may be to achieve a fresh start, to be closer to family or friends, to pursue employment opportunities or for any other number of reasons. If they have children, however, there is more to a move than just finding a new place, packing up and hitting the road. With few exceptions, New Jersey parents must have permission to relocate outside the state with their children.

The easiest path toward getting permission to move out of the state with their children for parents is to get the permission of their child’s other parents. If they have a working relationship, they may broach the matter together and work toward a modified parenting time and visitation schedule. According to New Jersey state law, once child custody is established in divorce or separation actions, parents cannot relocate out of the state with their children unless the non-custodial parents also consent or they obtain approval from the court.

When parents are unable to reach a decision together regarding a proposed relocation, the court may decide the matter. According to FindLaw, in order to determine the child’s best interests in custody cases, New Jersey courts consider numerous factors. These factors include the following:

  • The fitness of each parent
  • The stability of the child’s present home environment
  • Each parent’s employment responsibilities
  • Parent-child and sibling interactions

The court may also take into account the child’s preference, provided the child is at least 12-years-old or otherwise shows the necessary maturity to make such a choice, and whether there is any history of domestic violence.