After a divorce, it is nearly always in a child’s best interest to maintain a consistent relationship with both of their parents. This is why parenting plans are created – to ensure that the child maintains a quality, consistent relationship with each parent in the years following their divorce.
When a job opportunity, family needs, or personal or economic circumstances make moving out of New Jersey an attractive option for a parent, they have to consider how moving would impact their child’s custody arrangement. Beyond this, they must obtain the other parent’s approval or permission from the court to move, which necessitates altering their custody order. Each state governs this process in its child custody law. In New Jersey, how a parent can obtain permission to move out of state with their child recently changed.
Determining the Child’s Best Interest
Previously, courts had to determine whether a proposed move would cause harm to a child when deciding whether to grant permission for the move. Though the child’s interests were considered, the largest part of the equation was whether moving would harm them in a substantial way. This was because when the law was initially written, the prevailing presumption was that a child would be happiest in the setting where their custodial parent was happiest. Research from recent decades shows that this is not actually the case, that a child is happiest and healthiest when they have a consistent relationship with both of their parents.
To determine the child’s best interest, the court considers the following:
- The child’s medical needs
- The child’s academic needs
- The child’s relationship with each parent and the other members of their households
- Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household
- The parents’ willingness to communicate and cooperate with each other regarding the child’s care
- Each parent’s income and ability to support the child financially
The Burden of Proof is on the Parent Seeking the Move
New Jersey parents seeking court approval to move with their children must demonstrate how the move would be in their children’s best interest. If a parent cannot do this, they likely will not have their move approved. Supporting a claim that moving is in a child’s best interest can require a parent to provide documents that illustrate their position, such as a job offer in the proposed new location or a copy of a protective order showing that the move is to escape domestic violence in New Jersey. The parent may also be required to provide a proposed new custody plan and discuss how they plan to implement it if permission to move is granted.
Cherry Hill Child Custody Lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein, P.A. Guide Clients Through the Legal Aspects of Divorce and Life Afterward
Parenting after a divorce is not always easy. When issues like relocations and making necessary changes to your custody order arise, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced who can represent you in court and act as your advocate. To learn more, complete our or call 856-544-9155 to schedule your initial consultation at the We are located in Marlton, New Jersey, and work with clients from Mount Laurel, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, and Marlton.