Your divorce in Englewood Cliffs no doubt brings with it a certain sense of finality. Yet despite these feelings, your life will indeed go on. Part of that may include an opportunity to relocate to a new area (whether it be to move closer to extended family, seek new career opportunities or pursue a new relationship).

Many others in your position have come to us here at Schepisi McLaughlin, P.A. asking how they might be able to pursue such opportunities while also taking their kids along with them. If you have children with your ex-spouse, the issue of whether you can relocate with your kids comes down to the same principle used to make most custody determinations: what is in your kids’ best interest?

New Jersey’s stance on parental relocation

While the court will typically not bar you from relocating; it may prohibit you from taking your kids with you. Local family courts recognize that children tend to fare better when they have the consistent influence of both parents in their lives. Thus, if your relocation will limit your ex-spouse’s access to the kids, the court may choose to review your custody agreement to determine if allowing for your move (with your current custody arrangement remaining intact) is what is best for your kids.

When making this determination, Section 9.2-4 of New Jersey’s state statutes says that the court considers many factors, including:

  • The history you and your ex-spouse have regarding custody issues
  • How involved your ex-spouse currently is in your kids’ lives
  • Your children’s preference (if they can reasonably express it)

Working with your ex-spouse prior to your relocation

You may be able to maintain control of both your decision to relocate and your custody agreement by coming up with an amended agreement with your ex-spouse in advance of your move. You can find more information on child custody modifications throughout our site.