Custody: What You Should Know Before You Leave New Jersey

As the custodial parent you might think that since the children are under your care and control that as long as you provide them with a warm loving environment it does not matter whether you relocate to another state.

This is not the case. New Jersey law prohibits a custodial parent from moving with the parties’ children outside the state without court order or the non-custodial parent’s consent.

If the non-custodial parent does not consent to the move, the custodial parent must file a motion asking the Court to relocate. The Court will consider whether the children will suffer from the relocation, whether a relationship will be maintained with the non-custodial parent, and whether regular visitation is possible.

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that the following must be proved:

(1) The custodial parent must first establish any sincere, good faith reason to move out of state;
(2) The Court must determine whether the move will be inimical to the best interests of the children or adversely affect the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent;
(3) If the move will require substantial change in the visitation schedule, proofs concerning the prospective advantages of the move, the integrity of the movtives of the party and the development of a reasonable visitation schedule must be determined; and
(4) Whether the non-custodial parent could relocate.

Holder v. Polansky, 111 N.J. 344 (1988).

Perhaps you wish to move the children out of New Jersey because you have been offered your dream job or because you want to buy a home in another state with your new spouse. These seem like reasonable explanations, but they may not be adequate.

A common question asked by custodial parents is – Why must I, as the custodial parent, forego opportunity when I have sacrified for many years raising our children? Why do I have to continue sacrificing? The reasoning is simple. The courts look toward the children’s well-being, not the custodial parent’s aggregate efforts.

What is in the best interests of the children?