green bg
A young child in a denim jacket holds an adult's hand while watching soap bubbles float in the air, with a blurred background emphasizing a serene parenting time moment.

Child Relocation After a Divorce in New Jersey

When a couple goes through a divorce, they are required to settle several new arrangements for their new future. If the spouses are parents, they must determine child custody arrangements. When this is decided, the agreement is required to be followed as it is a court order. However, it is possible for the parents to find themselves under new circumstances as their lives go on. There are cases in which a parent may be required to relocate, whether it be for a job opportunity or a family matter.

When a custodial parent has to move, they typically want their child to come with them. This can create a difficult situation if the other parent does not want their child to move away from them. In situations such as these, non-custodial parents have the right to fight for their child to not relocate. These cases are brought to court to be determined by a judge.

Physical Custody vs Legal Custody

The two main types of custody arrangements are physical and legal custody. While they are both different, neither one is necessarily more important than the other. Both custody arrangements apply to two different aspects of life. Physical custody determines a custodial parent. This means the child will live with them the majority of the time, but also spend time in their other parent’s residence.

Alternatively, legal custody is in regards to a parent’s influence in their child’s life. This custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions for their child. This can for issues such as medical treatment, the child’s education, religious practices, and more. This can also include matters such as relocation. Even if the parent does not have physical custody, they still have a say in whether or not the child should move.


The state of New Jersey changed their laws regarding relocation in August of 2017. The state Supreme Court ruled that Courts must analyze relocation cases with a “best interest” standard. This means they must prove that the child’s relocation away from the non-custodial parent is in the child’s best interest.

During these cases, the court considers several different factors to come to a decision. 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

When relocation is opposed, the Court usually appoints a mental health professional to conduct an evaluation of the child and the family. This assists the Court in coming to an appropriate decision.

Contact our Firm

Matters of divorce and family law require the attention and skill of an experienced attorney who will fight for your future. If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.