Relocation can be welcome after an acrimonious divorce. However, relocation, especially out of state, is never nearly as easy when you share children with your ex.
If your ex is considering out-of-state relocation and they want to take your children with them, you need to understand how this will impact the existing custody arrangement. Knowing your options, as a parent, can help you protect your rights.
Review your existing custody arrangement
Depending on the current custody arrangement, your ex may not relocate out of state without referring the matter to court. For instance, if you are the children’s primary custodian, the other parent cannot relocate with the child without modifying the existing custody order.
Even if you are not the children’s primary custodian, the other parent cannot relocate with the kids without informing you. The family court acknowledges that both parents have a right to establish a healthy relationship with the children. As such, the court expects the relocating parent to be mindful of the potential effects of their action on the other parent’s visitation rights.
If you share joint custody, and you cannot agree on who will care for the child after the relocation, then the issue will be handled in court or through mediation.
The factors the court will consider when reviewing the relocation petition
Should the matter end in court, the judge will listen to both sides before determining whether or not the kids should move with the relocating parent or not. In its review, the court will take the following into account:
- The reason for the parent’s relocation
- The children’s preferences, if they are deemed mature enough to make give independent opinions
- Educational and cultural opportunities at the new location
- The children’s relationship with each parent
Divorce is a major life event with far-reaching implications. Find out how you can safeguard your children’s best interests when discussing the subject of relocation.