If I was awarded physical custody of my daughter in one state but we now live with her dad in another state, can I be forced to remain in the state?

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If I was awarded physical custody of my daughter in one state but we now live with her dad in another state, can I be forced to remain in the state?

I was awarded physical custody of my daughter over a year ago. We own a home together but are not married and have reconciled but hings are a little rocky. It is time to enroll my daughter in school. My daughter’s father would be the parent doing the drop off and pickup from school since I commute for work. If things don’t work out and she is enrolled in the school system here, could he take legal action and be successful in changing the custody situation; since once she is enrolled in school with active ties to the community, can I be forced to live here even though I would want to relocate to my former state of residence since my job is there? I could then become the more involved parent like l want to be with the day-to-day activities of her school/community life.

Asked on August 23, 2012 under Family Law, New Jersey


Brad Micklin / The Micklin Law Group

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you agree that the father's residence is her residence, the court will consider that to be where she resides. The fact that you two agreed shows that residing there suggest that you both believed it to be in her best interest. Accordingly, the court could consider allowing her to remain there over your objection and relocation.

Although the court cannot require you to continue to reside anywhere specifically, they can prevent you from relocating with custody of your child. Any agreement that you two enter into regarding custody and residency should indicate that it is temporary and that a possible relocation with you is contemplated in the future and agreed to be also in her best interest.

You should speak with an experienced attorney who is familiar with these areas of law.


Good luck.


Brad M. Micklin, Esq.

187 Washington Ave., Suite 2F

Nutley, NJ 07110


[email protected] 

This information is based on New Jersey law and upon the limited facts you presented. My advice may be different if I find that the facts presented are different.  Additionally, this answer does not contain any confidential information nor does it create any attorney/client relationship. 

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