New Jersey parenting agreements are based on what mothers and fathers know about their living conditions at the time. Unless you have access to a reliable crystal ball, you have no way to anticipate changes like a job opportunity across the country or a serious relationship with someone out of state. Relocation can mean moving a child far away from a non-custodial parent.
State child custody laws address parent relocations. Courts do not want long-distance moves to strain or break the crucial bond between a non-custodial parent and a child. Courts aren’t as concerned about parents’ wishes as they are about the best interests of children.
A judge often steps in when a non-custodial parent objects to a move by a custodial parent. It would be extremely complicated and expensive for a non-custodial parent to maintain bi-weekly visitations, if a child lived thousands of miles away. The plea may come from a parent’s point of view, but the court prioritizes the impact of a move upon the child.
Parents may work out relocation details without the court’s help. Many states permit parents to give “express consent” for parental relocations. In other words, if parents agree a move is okay, the court is likely to go along with the plan. Some laws insist a custodial parent receives notification of a non-custodial parent’s relocation, within a set period like 60 to 90 days in advance, often requiring a non-custodial parent’s consent.
Parental relocation rules sometimes specify distances. Custodial parents are permitted to move, unless the distance exceeds the agreed upon terms. This may affect moves within New Jersey as well as out-of-state relocations.
Moving issues often can be resolved by discussing the matter with a family law attorney, then opening the subject with the affected parent. You have incentive to work it out – a dispute puts the issue in the hands of a stranger.
Source: FindLaw, “Child Custody Relocation Laws” Nov. 17, 2014