Parental relocation can be a significant concern for many families following a divorce and in some other circumstances as well. Parental relocation can have a large impact on a child custody situation, impacting the child in a meaningful way. Without an agreement, parental relocation can potentially lead to a child custody dispute as the noncustodial parent may have understandable concerns regarding custody and visitation related to a proposed relocation.
To determine if a disputed parental relocation will be allowed, courts will seek to determine if the proposed relocation is in the best interests of the child. If it is not, the custodial parent may not be permitted to relocate. Courts may consider a variety of factors including the distance of the move and if it is an in-state move or a good faith reason for the move such as a new job, pursuit of education, moving closer to family or a better cost of living. State laws vary concerning parental relocation so it is important for parents seeking a parental relocation, or supporting or opposing one, understand the laws in their state.
In some states, express consent for the parental relocation is required. Express consent refers to an agreement that provides express consent to relocate and proposes an accompanying visitation schedule. Express consent is typically included as part of the original child custody plan agreed upon by the parents. In other states or situations, the parent proposing to relocate must provide notice to the other parent and obtain that parent’s consent to relocate. The non-relocating parent can file a motion with the court objecting to the proposed relocation.
Because of the potential significance of parental relocation on a child custody situation, it is important for parents to understand how the family law process handles parental relocation and the ways it can help them. Legal options are available to help guide families through parental relocation, child custody modification and other child custody concerns and disputes that may arise.
Source: Family FindLaw, “Child Custody Relocation Laws,” Accessed Jan. 31, 2017