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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 FM


To apply for permission to remove/relocate your child(ren) out of state in an FM case, follow the directions listed below. You can print a copy of these directions to take with you.

  1. Go to the family intake office of the County courthouse in the county where you got your original custody/visitation order.

    View a list of courthouse addresses and phone numbers.

  2. At the family intake office ask for copies of forms called “Post Judgment Motion Papers”. These papers are also available over the Internet.

    View motion papers and instructions.

  3. You will need to fill out the motion papers with all of the information about why you need to remove/relocate your child(ren) out of state. Some examples of reasons for relocating are:
    1. Most of your family lives out of state and they can help you care for your child(ren).
    2. Most of the family of the non-custodial parent lives in the new state.
    3. You are able to afford better housing in the new state.
    4. Your child(ren) can get a better education in the new state.
    5. You can get better services for your child(ren) in the new state.
    6. You can get a better job in the new state.
    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.
      Make sure that you get a copy back.
    2. The clerk will then serve the other parent by sending 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?

  6. 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.

  7. If the judge feels that he or she needs more information, he or she can do the following:
    1. Order investigations done by the court (sometimes called best interest investigations).
    2. Order psychological evaluations of parents and child(ren).
    3. Order medical examinations of the child(ren).
    4. Order that a school provide records to the court.
    5. Order that DYFS conduct home evaluations of both parents’ homes.
    6. Order that DYFS provide records of prior involvement with your family(if there has been prior DYFS involvement).
    7. Request copies of the child(ren)’s medical records.

  8. 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 relocation and interference with custody/visitation. and Choose this publication "Parenting Time: A Child's Right- New Jersey Laws Governing Custody and Parenting Time."


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