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  • Writer's pictureKaefer Garcia

NJ Family Law: Relocation - My Child was Taken Out of State; What Can I Do?

Updated: Apr 4

When a parent tries to relocate out of state without their spouse's consent, it can cause many problems in the family law court. Relocation is when one spouse wants to move out of state with the minor child(ren).

Relocation can be a highly contested legal process in New Jersey Family Court. If you are facing a similar situation, you should know the law and your rights regarding relocation.

This guide will provide you with information on the law surrounding relocation and your rights in this situation.

Steps to Consider When a Parent Wants to Relocate With a Child

If you and your spouse cannot agree on whether or not one of you can relocate with your child, there are a few things you should do:

1. Get Organized

Gather any documentation that may be relevant to your case, such as financial records, school records, and custody agreements.

The best time to gather this documentation is before you even file for relocation. You will show the court that you have everything and are prepared to fight for your child.

Also, start to consider what your reasons are for wanting to relocate. The court will want to know why you are moving and whether or not the move is in the child's best interest.

2. Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

It is always good to consult with an experienced family law attorney, especially if dealing with a complex legal issue like relocation.

Your attorney will advise you on your rights and help you navigate the legal process. They can also help you negotiate with your spouse and reason in your child's best interest.

When selecting an attorney, choose one who has experience with relocation cases. This way, you can ensure that your attorney is familiar with the law and knows how to represent your interests.

3. File for Relocation

The first step in the relocation process is to file a notice of intent to relocate with the court. The notice must apply to the other parent and any other party who has a right to object to the relocation.

If the other parent objects, the court will schedule a hearing to decide whether or not to allow the relocation.

Both sides will present their evidence and arguments to the court at this hearing. The court will then decide based on what is in the child's best interest.

4. Factors Considered by the Court

The statutory criteria for determining what is in the child’s best interest is found in N.J.S.A. 9:2-4:

  • 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 which isn’t based on substantiated abuse

  • the interaction and relationship of the child with its 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 child’s preference, when the child has the capacity to make an intelligent decision

  • the child’s needs

  • the stability of the home environment offered by the parents

  • the quality and continuity of the child’s education

  • the parents’ fitness to exercise custody

  • the geographical proximity of the parents’ homes

  • the extent and quality of the time spent with the child before or after the separation

  • the parents’ employment responsibilities, and

  • the age and number of the children.

5. Modify the Custody Agreement

If you have permission to relocate, you must modify your custody agreement. The new location will probably not be convenient for the other parent to visit the child.

You will need to work out a new custody arrangement in the child's best interest. It may include more frequent visits, longer visits, or even Skype visits.

If you have any questions about modifying your custody agreement, it's best to consult an experienced family law attorney.

Get Legal Assistance Today!

If you face a situation where one parent wants to relocate a child, it is essential to know your rights. You should consult an experienced family law attorney to ensure the protection of your rights.

At Garcia Law, LLC, we have experience handling relocation cases. We will work with you to ensure that your rights are protected and that your child's best interests are considered.

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