04 Oct 5 Things You Need to Know About Child Relocation
After the dissolution of a relationship, the courts have the difficult decision of determining what is in the best interest of the child. Often times parents do not remain within the same vicinity of one another once the relationship has ended. This situation can be quite difficult for a child to deal with – particularly if his/her parents live hours away from each other. The custodial parent may have many reasons for wanting to relocate to another state or country.
The custodial parent may have many reasons for wanting to relocate to another state or country. However, there are many factors which determine whether the court system will allow the parent to relocate. People relocate for jobs, economic reasons, cheaper housing and educational opportunities. While these are all valid reasons, if it causes a hardship on the child, the courts may not rule in the favor of the custodial parent, forcing them to remain in their current location.
1. Provide Proper Notice
Depending upon the state, you may have to give the courts and the other parent sufficient notice, prior to moving. Some states require more than 60 days notice before the parent is permitted to move. The notification must be in writing and it would also be helpful to send the notice via certified mail.
Although the amount of time may vary, the noncustodial parent has the option of filing an objection to the relocation. Check with your attorney or the courts in your state to determine the specific requirements for written relocation notifications. The last thing a custodial parent wants is to relocate and have to deal with a court battle from the noncustodial parent, simply because they didn’t give proper notice to the parent. If a custodial parent relocates without proper notice, they are essentially kidnapping the child, which will result in legal ramifications.
2. Distance Matters
Some states have stipulations on how far the custodial parent may move before requiring a written notice to the other parent. While the provisions may vary depending on the state, it is wise to check with an attorney about the requirements for your specific state. Divorced parents should check their paperwork to determine if there are specific provisions within the decree or agreement that prevent the parent from moving a certain distance away from the other parent.
The judge will assess the relocation request to ensure that the custodial parent will have adequate before and after care, the physical setting of the home and if the living arrangements are adequate.
3. Show Good Faith
The custodial parent must prove that there is a valid reason (in the best interest of the child) for relocating further than a defined distance. They have to show that they are not relocating for personal reasons, such as an attempt to move further away to prevent the noncustodial parent from seeing their child or children. It is imperative to discuss the reasons for relocating with your attorney so that they may support you in the best way possible.
Some states require that the custodial parent goes out of their way to prove that their intentions of relocation are noble. Reasons for relocation are divided into two different scenarios, personal and economic. The judge reviews the relocation request and determines if the reasons for the relocation are strictly a personal reason for the parent or if there is a real need to relocate.
4. There are many other factors to consider
If the other parent decides to protest the relocation, a judge will look at several things before considering the relocation. They will want to ensure that the relocation will be what’s in the best interest of the child. A judge will consider the custodial parent’s earning abilities. The judge will also consider whether extended family members will be at the new location.
Relocation requests are also evaluated to determine the quality of life of a child. If the relocation will provide better educational opportunities and a nicer living situation, the judge is more apt to approve it. As the custodial parent, the relocation request is a challenge to gather as much information as possible to prove that relocation is what’s best for the child.
The judge considers the relationship the child has with each parent to determine if relocation is best. They will also evaluate the history of both parents. Were they abusive? Did they act in the best interests of the child and is the noncustodial parent paying their child support. Judges will also want to know the specific benefits of the relocation of the custodial parent and the child.
5. Cooperation is Key
As the requesting parent, one must remember to be considerate of the noncustodial parent. The courts will consider if the relocation will cause a hardship for the custodial parent to see their child. They will also consider if the relocation will result in increased travel costs and expenses for the noncustodial parent.
Sometimes the noncustodial parent will use this opportunity to file a petition to have sole custody of the child in their current residing state. This is why it is always best to seek the advice of an attorney during situations such as relocating.