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When a relationship ends, and the couple parts ways, those involved must make plans for their future living arrangements. If the people who are divorcing are parents, then they will have the added responsibility of making decisions about how to raise their children under new circumstances. 

Family court is available to assist parents with the challenges, as well as the disagreements, that may occur when designing a plan for their children’s future. 

Custody  

Sometimes parents cannot come to an agreement regarding child custody. In that case, a family court judge must make the decision. The court’s ultimate goal is to support the health and development, as well as the security and happiness, of the child. 

The judge may consider factors such as the fitness and employment responsibilities of the parents. He or she could also take into account how stable the home environment is and how the child interacts with siblings and parents. The court might consider the preference of a child aged 12 or older. 

Relocation  

If the custodial parent wants to move out of the state with the child, this may make it difficult for the other parent to have frequent contact with the child. Because the parenting time that the court has ordered might be in jeopardy, a judge could prevent the move. 

Therefore, New Jersey law will permit the relocation only if the parent who wants to move has gained either the consent of the other parent or a court order giving permission. Once both parents have agreed to the move, the custodial parent can request that the other parent sign a written statement of consent. Written permission to relocate to another state should help avoid any later misunderstandings. 

Modification  

Because relocating may entail a significant change in circumstances, and possible contention, the court might need to modify the child custody or visitation orders. The judge could decide that, in the interest of stability, the parent who is remaining in the state should take physical custody of the child. 

It is also possible that the judge will review, and agree to, a new visitation schedule. Whatever the decision, the court will attempt to promote agreement.