Despite everyone’s best planning attempts, life changes sometimes require people to move. New job situations, moving closer to family, or a variety of other opportunities pop up. When the person who needs to move also is a parent sharing custody, the situation becomes more complicated.
If a custodial parent were allowed to move far away and take the child, it wouldn’t be fair to the non-custodial parent. And if the non-custodial parent moves away, the visitation schedule must be amended to preserve the relationship while also factoring in the extra distance.
What Happens If I Need to Move?
The first thing you need to do when you decide to relocate is to contact your child’s other parent. Discuss where you’re moving and how that may impact visitation with your child. If you are the custodial parent, consider offering longer blocks of time in the summer and over holiday breaks to make up for missed time on weekends, for example.
The easiest route to getting your relocation approved is by mutual agreement with the other person. If you can come to an agreement that the move is beneficial to your child and to how you will revise the visitation schedule to reflect the new distance, the court is more likely to accept your proposal.
What If My Ex Doesn’t Agree?
Unfortunately, it is possible that your ex will not agree to the relocation, especially if it means you will be moving far away with your child and significantly impacting time with the other parent. In this case, you will need to go through the courts to get your move approved.
In making the decision whether or not to allow the child’s relocation, the court can consider:
- The strength and nature of the child’s relationship with each parent, siblings, or other significant people such as grandparents.
- The reasons of each parent for seeking or opposing any proposed move.
- The age, development, and needs of the child, and the impact the move or its prevention will have on the child’s emotional, physical, or educational development.
- The quality of life and opportunities available to the child and the parent in both the current and proposed locations.
- Any alternatives to relocation, and whether it’s possible and feasible for the non-custodial parent to also relocate.
- Whether disrupting contact between the child and the custodial parent would be more harmful to the child than disrupting contact between the child and the non-custodial parent.
The parent relocation process can quickly become stressful and complicated, especially if you’re on a tight deadline and worrying about finding housing and starting a new job in a different location. Having an attorney by your side to guide you through the process will alleviate your fears and give you the space you need to work toward starting your new life.
At Lopez Law Firm, we have experience helping both custodial and non-custodial parents through relocation proceedings. Whether you’re the custodial parent wanting to relocate, the non-custodial parent seeking changes to your current custody agreement in order to move, or the non-custodial parent opposing a relocation proposal, our team can give you experienced representation and peace of mind at an uncertain time. Call today for a consultation!