As you can imagine, the relocation of parent and child is frequently a possibility in our fast-moving culture and often this inevitably involves a renegotiation of the original custody order.
The triggering mechanism will usually be that the parent with the right to establish the child’s primary residence (the “primary parent”), for a variety of possible reasons, wants to move the child outside of the court-ordered geographic area, whether that may be three hours away in state, or many miles and hours away out of state, or to a foreign country. As in the original suit, the court’s primary focus will be on the best interests of the child in relation to this proposed move.
If one party is opposing the move, the first step will be to get an order in place establishing that the move may not take place until the case is concluded. Getting the court to approve a move is a formidable uphill battle because the psychological literature and most therapists tend to support the theory that children greatly benefit when both parents live in the same area and are actively involved in the children’s lives on a regular basis. A court cannot prohibit a parent from moving but can prohibit the removal of the child from a particular area for the purpose of establishing a new residence, depending on the circumstances.
The court is unlikely to approve a move based, for instance, on a desire to live in a different climate or in response to a new romantic interest. More serious and appealing reasons might include a desire to be near family who can offer support to parent and children, or a child’s unique medical need, or a desire to access a special educational opportunity for the child. Another important factor could be that the primary parent has been offered a big promotion or a promising new job. Perhaps the primary parent always intended to “move back home” eventually.
The decision as to how this problem is to be resolved will be based on how attractive the move is for the child versus how detrimental it may be. Often, an agreement will be reached that offers the non-custodial parent extra, extended time with the children during holidays or summertime, to compensate for the loss of daily or weekly contact.
Whether you are the primary parent who wants to relocate, or the parent who does not want the children to be moved across the country or the world, our attorneys are experienced and capable fighters who can advocate effectively for your position.