Child Relocation and Parental Custody
Divorce is a transitional period for everyone in the family. Even once the separation and child custody are settled, however, this period of transition can continue if the primary caretaker chooses to move. This presents a challenge if the non-custodial parent asserts that the move is not in the best interest of the child. The disagreement can be brought to court, where the primary caretaker will have to prove otherwise.
Reasons that the custodial parent might choose to relocate include:
- Better career opportunities
- To be closer to other family members
- A new relationship
- Seeking an improved quality of life
Regardless of why the move is made, if the non-custodial parent mounts a challenge, a court will ultimately decide what outcome will serve the best interests of the child. If you are in the middle of a battle over child relocation, it’s important that you have family law experts to assist and guide you through this process.
What Factors Will Courts Consider?
When the Courts are determining whether or not they will allow a parent to relocate the child, there are several factors that they will take into consideration.
- The age of the child. If the child is older and mature, the judge might even speak with the child to ask for any opinions concerning the possible relocation.
- Distance between homes. Moves that are less in distance such as across town are more likely to be approved than an interstate move that would result in cross state custody.
- Whether it improves the quality of life. The courts will compare factors such as school systems and the overall community to determine whether the relocation benefits the child as well as the parent.
If the court finds the custodial parent’s reason for moving valid, the child will move with the parent. However, the Court may also decide that a change in custody is best for the child’s development if the custodial parent is committed to relocating.
Planning Your Move
To avoid any possible pitfalls during relocation, it’s vital for parents to maintain an open line of communication with one another. If the move catches one parent by surprise, then it’s more likely for the noncustodial parent to challenge the relocation in court. The parent with custody should consider the value of the school system as well as other opportunities that a new community will present. Considering these other aspects will make it clear that the best interest of the child was kept in mind. Furthermore, Courts are more inclined to look favorably at parents who are transparent about the possibility of child relocation in relation to the child’s well being.
If you are considering a move or are caught in the middle of a heated battle, call the family lawyers at Mike Hulen for advice and guidance today. Our experienced attorneys can be reached at (303) 932-8666.