Our NJ child relocation attorneys often work with dads who have a great opportunity waiting for them in another state and want to take their child with them. It is our job to help them determine how feasible a move actually is, and what the courts may think about such a proposal.
Whether you can relocate your child to another state depends on the custody arrangement you currently have, your reason for moving, and the best interests of your child. Fathers in New Jersey who have sole custody of their child are more likely to be granted permission by the court to move to a different state. In the case of shared custody, it can be challenging to get all parties to agree that the move is in the child’s best interest.
If you have primary physical custody
A parent who has primary physical custody of their child has a much better chance of being granted permission to relocate with their child. If you have primary custody, the court has already determined that it is in your child’s best interest to be cared for by you most of the time. If you are considering relocation, the court will use similar criteria to evaluate the child’s best interests. Assuming the move will not cause undue stress or harm to your child, the court is likely to determine that it remains best for the child’s well-being to stay in your physical custody, even after your relocation to another state.
Your co-parent certainly has a right to see their child, so visitation can still happen whenever it suits their schedule. Some parents who live in different states decide that their child will stay with the non-custodial parent over the summer and during other school breaks. In addition, the non-custodial parent can always come into town to see the child when they have time off from work. They may also be able to take vacations with their child. If your child’s other parent is not active in his or her life, a judge may grant permission to relocate without much regard for the distance it will create between child and parent.
If a parent has sole or primary custody, a relocation is usually accepted by the courts. That being said, the move must not be done in bad faith or as an attempt to keep the child from their other parent. You should have a legitimate reason for the relocation, such as for a new job or to be closer to your family.
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If you have joint custody
Joint custody is defined as “joint responsibility for minor day-to-day decisions and includes continuous custody by both parents.” Your custody arrangement doesn’t need to be 50/50 to be considered joint custody.
As a dad with joint custody, you will undoubtedly face challenges when requesting permission to relocate with your child. If you want to take your child to live with you in another state, you will need to request a modification to your original custody agreement so that you can be granted primary custody. Unfortunately, this is generally an uncommon outcome. Because the court is concerned with what is in the child’s best interests, it is very unlikely that a judge will determine that it is beneficial to take the child away from their other parent. Your child has maintained a relationship with both parents after you split from your ex, so it may be emotionally difficult to separate him from your co-parent. This will hold weight for a judge while he makes his decision.
What about moving to a nearby state?
If you have been offered a job in a nearby state and would like to move from New Jersey to Pennsylvania or Connecticut, both parents can agree to the move so you don’t spend as much time in court. This is usually not a problem (as long as you have a good co-parenting relationship with your ex) if the move won’t negatively affect the child’s well-being. Generally, you must be willing to adjust your own routine to make the move easy on your co-parent and your child. For example, you would have to be willing to drive your child 30 minutes for custody exchanges so your ex isn’t inconvenienced every week. Of course, you may have a great relationship where your ex is willing to meet you halfway with these issues. Still, the convenience factor will most likely have to be considered.
Even if you have your ex’s blessing to move to a nearby state, you should consult a New Jersey relocation lawyer before presenting your solution to the court. It is unlikely, but possible, that a judge will not agree to your proposed arrangement, but a parental relocation attorney in New Jersey can help you avoid that outcome.
How to prevent your ex from moving with your child
If you don’t believe it’s in your child’s best interests to move to another state, your New Jersey divorce relocation attorney can help you argue your points to the court. You have rights as a man and father to see your child. A relocation and child custody attorney in New Jersey will help you show the judge that it will be detrimental to your child’s well-being to take away these rights. In fact, it is almost always beneficial for a child to have a close relationship with both loving parents.
As long as you have played an active role in your child’s life and have stuck to your custody schedule, you have a very good chance of the judge denying your co-parent’s request to move to another state.
New Jersey Child Relocation Lawyers
Relocation cases are challenging and emotional, and the law is complicated. Any one considering relocating should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure he/she can meet the necessary burden of proof.
The Micklin Law Group’s attorneys have dedicated their careers to protecting men’s and fathers’ rights during divorce and custody cases. If you are a father who wants to relocate with your child, or if you would like to stop your ex from moving so you can maintain a relationship with your child, our attorneys can help.
Contact The Micklin Law Group by calling 973-562-0100 or completing a contact form on our website.