Can a Parent Relocate With the Children?
Frank Tournour of Tournour Law, with an office in East Brunswick, NJ, has represented clients in many cases involving the right of a custodial parent to relocate. Many parents wonder whether a parent is legally able to relocate with the children during or after a divorce. Laws regarding child custody relocation vary greatly from state to state, so it is important to work with an attorney who practices family law in your area. We will work to ensure that the best interests of your child are upheld regardless of the circumstances. Whether you are considering relocating or you want to contest relocation, we can help. We can facilitate mediation or represent your case in court. Contact our law office today to speak with one of our lawyers.
Child Custody and Relocation
The custodial parent has the right to move freely for work and other circumstances. The other parent, however, has a right to have a relationship with the child. When one parent wants to move a considerable distance from the other (even within the same state), that parent must obtain permission from the other parent or the court.
No Custody Order in Place
If no custody order is in place, one parent cannot take the child out of state against the other parent’s wishes. Doing so could result in kidnapping charges and an eventual loss of custodial rights.
When one parent wants to move a considerable distance from the other (even within the same state), they must obtain permission from the other parent or the court.
Sole or Primary Physical Custody
A parent who has sole or primary custody can generally move with the child as long as he or she proves the relocation is in good faith. This means the move has to be for a job or a spouse’s job, or to live closer to family, and is not being done to interfere with the other parent’s relationship. The parent wanting to relocate must prove that the child will have the same or improved opportunities regarding health care, education, and recreation. He or she must also provide a proposed visitation plan. Generally, in cases of sole or primary custody, the child spends school holidays and breaks with the non-custodial parent and the rest of the year with the custodial parent.
Joint Legal and Physical Custody
According to New Jersey laws, if both parents truly share both legal and physical custody, the court will approach the matter as a custody modification as a result of changed circumstances. Hearings will take place in which the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child. The court will then appoint one of the parents with primary physical custody.
Factors that May Affect the Custody Arrangement
The court will look at a variety of factors when reviewing child custody arrangements and relocations:
- Each parent’s finances
- Any special needs of the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent and extended family members
- If age-appropriate, the child’s own preferences
If one parent has better job security or a higher salary, that may play a role in the court’s determination. It all ultimately depends on the child’s best interests.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you are considering relocating or you want to contest a relocation, contact Tournour Law today. We are here to help ensure that your child’s best interests are upheld.