Our world is ever-shrinking. By virtue of the Internet and all forms of digital connectivity, people are finding it easier to locate job opportunities and new relationships far across the state, the country and even the world. With a parenting plan in place, however, moving from one state to another is simply not as easy as you might think.
For the non-custodial parent, there are virtually no restrictions on the move - as long as he or she understands that relocation might impact time spent with the child. For example, if the non-custodial father decides to move from New Jersey to New Mexico for a new job, it might make it nearly impossible to uphold his part of the custodial agreement of spending every other weekend with the child. Conversely, if the father is the custodial parent, moving the child from New Jersey to New Mexico is quite a bit more complex.
In New Jersey, if the custodial parent wishes to move out of the state, it must be done with the approval of the non-custodial parent. Moving to a bordering state might be significantly less complicated, but putting a state or more of a barrier between the child and his or her parent will be opposed by the court unless both parents come to an agreement.
If the non-custodial parent does not consent (in writing and notarized) to the move, it might be possible to get a court order granting permission to relocate with the child. The custodial parent must show that there is a good faith reason for the move. Relocating for a new job that would improve his or her quality of life is a common good faith reason. Additionally, moving to be closer to an established network of friends and family is another typical good faith reason. In addition to providing a viable reason for the move, the custodial parent must also demonstrate how he or she will support the parenting time of the other parent.
This modification to the parenting plan can be complex, requiring numerous contingencies and clear language about finances. For this reason, it is crucial to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that you cover all of the necessary bases. From laying out travel plans, to deciding where the non-custodial parent will stay while visiting, to determining how the expenses will be divided, a lawyer can provide the legal guidance and insight necessary.