Couples going through a divorce have several legal matters to consider. If they are parents, this includes custody arrangements. Once an arrangement for the custody of their children is approved by the court, it is considered the law and must be followed. It is important for a parent to understand the rights they have under their custody agreement. This is so that when life changes occur and present challenges, they are aware of their options.

There are many cases in which life may require a parent to relocate. This may be for a job opportunity or family matters. When this happens and a custodial parent has to move, they usually want their child to move with them. This can create a difficult situation, as most non-custodial parents often do not want their child to move away from them. In these situations, non-custodial parents should know they have the right to fight for their children to stay near them.

Physical Custody vs Legal Custody

Physical custody and legal custody are the two main types of arrangements that are made during a divorce. While both are important, they each cover different aspects of a child’s life. Physical custody determines a child’s custodial parent. This determines where the child will live the majority of the time. However, they also spend time in the non-custodial parent’s residence.

Legal custody relates to the amount of influence a parent has in their child’s life. This allows a parent to be involved in making decisions regarding important aspects of the child’s upbringing. This includes matters such as medical treatment, education, religious practices, and more. This can also include relocation. Even if a parent does not have physical custody of their child, they still have the right to speak up in the event of their possible relocation.


The laws regarding relocation in the state of New Jersey changed in August of 2017. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that relocation cases need to be assessed with the “best interest” standard. This means it must be proven that moving the child to this new location, away from their non-custodial parent, is in the child’s best interest.

During relocation cases, the court considers many different factors before coming to a decision. This can include:

  • The bond between the child and each parent
  • The impact of the move on the child’s established relationships
  • Education
  • Social life
  • The reasons for and against the move
  • Other implications of the child and custodial parent moving

When a non-custodial parent opposes the relocation of their child, the court typically appoints a mental health professional to conduct an evaluation of the child and family. This also assists the court in coming to a decision that is in the child’s best interest.

Contact our Firm

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today