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Child Relocation After a Divorce in New Jersey

A divorce allows former spouses to move on with their lives separately. When this happens, they are often presented with new situations and opportunities that can change their life. This can include a job offer or family matter. There are times in which this new direction in their life can require them to move. While this can be a very exciting event in a person’s life, it can be difficult in the event that they are a parent. 

Most of the time, a parent wants their child to relocate with them. In these situations, the other parent may oppose this because they do not want their child to move away from them. When both parents disagree on what is best, they may need to settle the matter through litigation. During this time, a judge is given the right to make this decision for the family.

Physical Custody vs Legal Custody

When parents go through a divorce, they settle a custody arrangement. This can give a parent physical and legal custody of their child. Both of these are important, as they cover different aspects of their child’s life. Physical custody determines the child’s custodial parent, also known as the main guardian. This is the parent the child lives and spends the majority of their time with. It is important to know that the child still spends time in the non-custodial parent’s house as well. 

Separate from this, legal custody establishes the influence a parent has in their child’s life and upbringing. With this custody, the parent is allowed the right to be involved in making important decisions for the child throughout their life. This can include matters such as healthcare, education, religion, and even relocation. It is crucial that a parent fights for legal custody of their child if they do not have physical custody. This allows them to have a say in the big moments of their child’s life.


The New Jersey Supreme Court changed the law regarding child relocation cases in 2017. The new law stated that all courts in the state must rule with the “best interest standard.” This means that the decision is no longer made for what is right for the parent, but the child. If a parent wishes to relocate, they must prove it would be in the best interest of the child, even though they would move away from their other parent. 

In order to reach a decision, the judge considers different factors regarding the family. 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

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.