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Relocating After a New Jersey Divorce | What to Know

After a divorce, many people look for a fresh start. For some, this includes moving to a new place. But, this can be complicated if you share custody of your child. If you wish to move out of state with your child, you will need the approval of the child’s other parent. If he or she does not give permission, you will need the permission of a New Jersey court. Read on to learn more about the relocation process after a New Jersey divorce.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

There are two types of custody in New Jersey:

  • Physical Custody
    • Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will reside for more of the time. This parent will be responsible for the child more of the time and provide a home, stability, food, clothes, etc. In some situations, custody can be shared equally by both parents or guardians.
  • Legal Custody
    • When a parent has legal custody, he or she has the right to make important decisions in the child’s life. These decisions may include choices about academics, religion, medical issues, relocation, etc. A parent does not have to have physical custody to have legal custody.  One or both parents may have legal custody.

What is a Best-interest Analysis?

When deciding whether a parent should be able to move with their child, the court follows New Jersey’s “best interest standard.” This means they are required to make a ruling based on what is in the child’s best interest. To determine this, the judge will consider the following. 

  • The reason for moving, as well as the former spouse’s reasoning for protesting the move
  • Whether the child is entering their senior year of high school
  • Whether the move will benefit the child’s overall situation, providing advantageous educational, economical, or social circumstances

What Other Factors are Considered?

In addition to the previous factors, the judge may also consider the following to make their decision:

  • Moving closer to the child’s extended family so they  can benefit from those relationships
  • Requiring immediate or crucial medical attention
  • Protecting your family from a dangerous environment or former spouse
  • Moving in with a new spouse
  • Getting a new job or attending college, university, or getting a higher education to benefit theirs and the child’s financial situation

If you are interested in moving out of state with your child, our firm is here to help. Reach out today to speak with an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.


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