To apply for permission to remove/relocate your child(ren) out of state in an FV case, follow the directions listed below. It is a good idea to print a copy of these directions to take with you.
- 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 county courthouse addresses and phone numbers.
- Ask to speak to the domestic violence team leader or other staff member in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Family Part.
- Ask for the form(s) used to request permission to remove/relocate your children out of state when you have a restraining order. A staff member will 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 NJ Judiciary site. However, all other persons must use the shorter form(s) provided at the courthouse.
- You may put in the form some or all of the reasons why you need to relocate out of state. Some examples of reasons for having to relocate out of state are:
- Most of your family lives out of state and they can help you care for your child(ren).
- Most of the family of the non-custodial parent lives in the new state.
- You are able to afford better housing in the new state.
- Your child(ren) can get a better education in the new state.
- You can get better services for your child(ren) in the new state.
- You can get a better job in the new state.
- You have remarried and your husband got a job out of state.
- Your employer is requiring that you transfer out of state.
- Procedure for Filing Papers and Appearing in Court
- 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.
- The clerk will then serve the other parent by sending him or her a copy of your papers
- Eventually will receive a notice of a hearing and a date and time to appear at the courthouse.
- On the date of your hearing you will appear before a judge.
- Factors Considered by the Court At The Removal Hearing
- The reasons for wanting to move.
- The non-custodial parent’s reasons for opposing the move.
- The past history of dealings between the parents.
- Will the child(ren)receive educational, health and leisure opportunities at least equal to what is available here in New Jersey.
- If the child(ren) have any special needs or talents, will the accommodations for these special needs or talents be at least equal to what is available here in new Jersey?
- 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?
- What will be the effect of the move on extended family relationships here and in the new location?
- If the child is age 14 or over, what is his or her preference in terms of where he or she wants to live?
- Is the child in his or her senior year of high school?
- Does the non-custodial parent have the ability to re-locate?
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.
If the judge feels that he or she needs more information, he or she can do the following:
- Interview the children - If the judge decides to interview the child(ren), the interview will take place in the judge's chambers (private office). The judge may give you and the other parent an opportunity to submit questions to be asked. The judge may decide not to ask some of your questions, but he or she must give you reasons. The judge's interview with the children must be recorded and you may get a copy of the transcript (printed record) of the interview if you request it. There is a charge for the transcripts.
- Order investigations done by the court (sometimes called best interest investigations).
- Order psychological evaluations of parents and child(ren).
- Order medical examinations of the child(ren).
- Order that a school provide records to the court.
- Order that DYFS conduct home evaluations of both parents’ homes.
- Order that DYFS provide records of prior involvement with your family (if there has been prior DYFS involvement).
- Request copies of the child(ren)’s medical records.
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. The rest of the relief in the domestic violence restraining order will remain the same. The abusive party who committed the act of domestic violence (the defendant) will still be restrained from any and all contact with the party who was abused (the plaintiff). In addition, the restraining order should be given full faith and credit in the new state.
View more information about the subject of relocation, and interference with custody/visitation. Choose this publication: "Parenting Time: A Child's Right - New Jersey Laws Governing Custody and Parenting Time."