If your ex-spouse is planning to move with your child out-of-state – or if you want to move and take your child with you – you need to understand the legal ramifications of child relocation and how it impacts your rights as a parent.
Moving a child out of state is usually a very emotional decision. There may be many good reasons for it – a new job, a desire to be closer to family, or even the need to make a fresh start. However, if you are the custodial parent and want to move with your child out of state, your first step needs to be to consult with a child custody lawyer to ensure you obtain the court’s permission to do so.
One of the first things your child custody attorney will tell you is: do NOT move out of state without obtaining the consent of the other parent. If you do not have consent, you must seek approval from the court before you move. Failing to do this could put you in legal jeopardy, and is a risky legal move for both you and your child.
The right of both parents to be a positive influence in the lives of their children – and the protection of those rights – is something a court takes very seriously. In all child custody matters – and especially those that involve relocation – the court will be guided by what is in the best interest of the child. This is true where one parent has primary residential custody or where both parents have shared physical custody.
The court will look very carefully at the same factors as determining custody under New Jersey law, which include but are not limited to the following:
The parents’ ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate in matters relating to the child.
The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse.
The interaction and relationship of the child with his or her parents and siblings.
Any history of domestic violence.
The safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent.
The preference of the child, if of age, and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision.
The needs of the child.
The stability of the home environment offered.
The quality and continuity of the child’s education.
The fitness of the parents.
The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes.
The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation.
The parents’ employment responsibilities.
The age(s) and number of children.
If the court grants approval for relocation, and you are the custodial parent who may now be concerned about collecting support payments once you move to another state, there are steps you can take to continue to collect support.
Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), an order for support issued in one state must be enforced by another state if certain conditions are met. The custodial parent is able to make an application to seek enforcement of the order where the non-custodial parent lives, regardless of what state they are living in, or to the court that last entered or modified the child support order .
At Cistaro Law, we are not only concerned with your divorce today, but also with your quality of life long after your case is over. Your family law issues deserve to be managed with dignity and respect. You can prepare to civilly resolve your divorce, heal, and move on with your life with a legal team that has helped individuals all over New Jersey to heal and prosper. Contact us today for your free consultation.