Child Relocation After a Divorce in New Jersey

Child Relocation After a Divorce in New Jersey

Divorces require couples to settle arrangements for an entirely new life. When spouses are parents, they must determine arrangements for the custody of their children. When custody arrangements are approved by the court, they are considered the law and therefore must be followed. However, life is unexpected and can present changes for parents. There are many cases in which a parent may need to relocate for a job opportunity or family matters.

When this happens and a custodial parent has to move, they usually want their child to move with them. This can become a complex situation as non-custodial parents often do not want their child to move away from them. It is important to know, in these situations, that non-custodial parents have the right to fight for their children to stay.

Physical Custody vs Legal Custody

The two main types of custody arrangements are physical and legal custody. Both of these arrangements are important, although they cover different aspects of life. Physical custody determines a custodial parent. This arrangement determines where the child will live with the majority of the time. However, they also spend time in their other parent’s residence.

Legal custody is in regards to a parent’s influence in their child’s life. This arrangement allows a parent to be involved in the decision making for important matters of the child’s life. This includes issues such as medical treatment, the child’s education, religious practices, and more. This can also include relocation. Even if a parent does not have physical custody, they still have the right to speak up in matters of their child’s possible relocation.


The state of New Jersey changed its laws regarding relocation in 2017. The state Supreme Court rulings need to be made by the court with the “best interest” standard. This means they are required to prove that the child’s relocation away from their non-custodial parent is in the child’s best interest.

During cases of relocation, the court considers many different factors to come to a decision. This can include:

  • The bond between the child and each parent
  • The impact of the move on the child’s established relationships
  • Education
  • Social life
  • The reasons for and against the move
  • Other implications of the child and custodial parent moving

When a non-custodial parent opposes the relocation of their child, the court usually calls for an evaluation of the child and the family to be done by a mental health professional. This helps the court come to an appropriate decision.

Contact our Firm

The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC is a family and divorce law firm serving Monmouth County and all of New Jersey that would be happy to assist you in legal counsel. If you need quality legal services, contact the firm for a consultation.