This is commonly referred to as “removal.” There are two types of “relocation” or “removal.” The first is interstate removal where one parent wants to relocate to another state within the United States. The second is international removal where one parent wants to relocate with the child to another country. Gourvitz & Gourvitz, LLC has tried many child relocation matters and have also been able to settle a majority of these matters through various non-judicial menas.

It is important to keep in mind that absent an agreement of the parties or an Order of the Court, a custodial parent cannot relocate with the child out of state or out of the country. In fact, the "removal" statute, N.J.S.A. 9:2-2, prohibits the removal of children of divorced or separated parents from the State without Court authorization unless both parents consent, or the children themselves consent if they are deemed old enough.

A Court in making its decision must first determine whether the custodial parent has a good-faith reason to move with the children. Any sincere, good-faith reason will suffice such as moving to live near relatives, seeking new or higher paying employment, or the custodial parent's remarriage will each satisfy the good-faith requirement. After a finding that the custodial parent wants to move for a good-faith reason, it must then consider whether the move will be in the best interest of the children or whether the relocation will adversely affect the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent.

At that time, the burden then shifts to objecting parent, or non-custodial parent, to prove that the effect of removal will be inimical to the child’s best interest. Absent an adverse effect on the children's best interest or the non-custodial parent's visitation rights, Courts have held that the custodial parent should enjoy the same freedom of movement as the non-custodial parent.

Moreover, if the proposed relocation will hinder the current visitation schedule, the custodial parent will then be required to provide proofs concerning the prospective advantages of the move, in conjunction with his or her continued good faith. However, not every change in a visitation schedule will adversely affect the non-custodial parent’s rights as “parenting time alternatives” could prove to mitigate against any adverse effect resulting from the move and adhering to the original parenting time schedule.