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Family and Relationships

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Home Page > Family and Relationships > Custody/Visitation > How to Change or Enforce a Custody/Visitation Order > I am the custodial parent > I need more information about removing or relocating out of the state of New Jersey

Docket number begins with FD

 

To apply for permission to remove/relocate your child(ren) out of state in an FD case, follow the directions listed below.

  1. Go to the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county courthouse where you got your original custody/visitation order.

    View a list of county courthouse addresses and phone numbers.

  2. At the courthouse, ask for the form(s) used to request permission to remove/relocate your child(ren) out of state in a FD case. A staff member should give you the correct form(s).

    NOTE – if you are incarcerated or cannot physically get to the courthouse, you are permitted to use the post judgment motion papers found on the internet. 

    View motion papers and instructions and Choose “How to Ask the court to Change or Enforce an Order in Your Case”.

    All other persons must use the shorter form(s) provided at the courthouse.

  3. Your motion papers must include statements describing the reasons why you need to relocate out of state. Some examples of reasons for having to relocate out of state are:
    1. Most of your family lives in the state that you want to move to
    2. Most of the family of the non-custodial parent lives in the state that you want to move to.
    3. You are able to afford better housing in the state where you want to move.
    4. Your children can get a better education in the state where you want to move.
    5. You can get better services for your child(ren) in the state where you want to move.
    6. You can get a better job in the state where you want to move.
    7. You have remarried and your husband got a job out of state.
    8. Your employer is requiring that you transfer out of state.

  4. Procedure for Filing Papers and Appearing in Court
    1. Make two copies of your papers and file them with the clerk at the family intake office.
    2. Make sure that you get a copy back. The clerk will then serve the other parent by sending to him or her a copy of your papers.
    3. Eventually you will receive a notice of a hearing and a date and time to appear at the courthouse.
    4. On the date of your hearing you will appear before a judge.
    5. At that hearing the judge will consider the following factors.
      1. What are your reasons for wanting to move?
      2. What are the non-custodial parent’s reasons for opposing the move?
      3. What is the past history of dealings between the parents?
      4. Will the child(ren) receive educational, health and leisure opportunities at least equal to what is available here in New Jersey?
      5. Does(do) the child(ren) have any special needs or talents and will the accommodations for these special needs or talents be at least equal to what is available here in new Jersey?
      6. Can the parent develop a visitation schedule that will allow the non-custodial parent to maintain a full relationship with the child(ren) if the move is allowed?
      7. What will be the effect of the move on extended family relationships here and in the new location?
      8. What is the child’s preference if he or she is of age 14 or older?
      9. Is the child in his or her senior year of high school?
      10. Does the non-custodial parent have the ability to re-locate?

  5. The custodial parent bears the burden of telling the court first why he or she wants to move, then the non-custodial parent has to demonstrate that the move is not in the child’s best interest. The fact that a move out of state will change the visitation schedule is not by itself a reason for preventing a move.

  6. If the judge feels that he or she needs more information, he or she can do the following:
    1. Interview the child(ren)—If the judge decides to interview the child(ren) the interview will take place in the judge's chambers (private office). The judge may permit you and the other parent to suggest questions that should be asked. The judge does not have to agree to ask questions you suggest, but he or she must give you reasons why your questions will not be asked. This interview must be recorded. You may request a transcript (printed record of everything that is said during the interview) but there is a fee.
    2. Order investigations done by the court (sometimes called best interest investigations).
    3. Order psychological evaluations of parents and child(ren).
    4. Order medical examinations of the child(ren).
    5. Order that a school provide records to the court.
    6. Order that DYFS conduct home evaluations of both parents’ homes.
    7. Order that DYFS provide records of prior involvement with your family(if there has been prior DYFS involvement).
    8. Request copies of the child(ren)’s medical records.

  7. After the judge signs the order you must get a copy of the signed order. You and the non-custodial parent must now follow the directions of the new order. 

View more information about the subject of custody and visitation. and Choose this publication: "Parenting Time: A Child’s Right - New Jersey Laws Governing Custody and Parenting Time ."

 

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