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Can your co-parent relocate with the children to another state?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | FAMILY LAW - Child Custody |

Learning that your co-parent intends to relocate with the children to another state can be worrisome. The distance could damage your relationship with your children since it may not be possible to see or physically interact with them regularly. 

In such an instance, is there anything you can do to protect your parental rights as a non-custodial parent? Here is what the law in New Jersey says:

Relocation with the children requires prior approval

Since such a move may affect your court-ordered parenting time, your co-parent must seek your consent before relocating with the children to another state. Otherwise, they must get the court’s approval to relocate with the children.

If you object to the relocation and your co-parent goes to court, a judge will have to decide whether to approve the move based on several factors. First, your co-parent must show that the relocation is in good faith and is in the children’s best interests. Some of the factors that the court will look at are:

  • The interaction of the child with their parents or siblings
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • The child’s preferences if they are of sufficient age and have the mental capacity to decide on their own
  • The stability of the home environment offered
  • The quality and continuity of the child’s education
  • The needs of the child, among others

Your co-parent must also provide a reasonable parenting time schedule that allows you to communicate and spend time with the children. It is worth noting that you, too, can make submissions to the court as to why your children should not leave New Jersey and point out inaccurate information from your co-parent.

There will be a hearing where the judge will listen to arguments from both sides regarding the relocation before issuing a judgment.

Reach out for help in dealing with such custody issues

You may miss important milestones in your children’s lives or break the parent-child bonds if they relocate to a different state. Therefore, it is worthwhile to consider getting proper legal counsel on how best to challenge your children’s relocation out of state and protect your parental role in their lives.