It can take people years to rebuild their lives after a messy divorce. For some people, the end of a marriage leads to long-term financial obligations and changed living circumstances. It may be a year or longer before someone truly feels settled in their new life after divorce because they may have to move, adjust their relationships and rework their household budget.
Oftentimes, other big changes follow the end of a marriage, like a reevaluation of someone’s career or a re-commitment to pursuing professional ambitions. Finding out about a promotion or job offer can be an exciting development for someone recovering from a recent divorce. However, if they share custody of their children with their former spouse, they will likely worry about whether they can accept the opportunity and what impact it may have on their relationship with their children.
Relocations may be possible when people follow the right processes
Virginia custody laws recognize that family circumstances change frequently. Judges should seek to do what is in the best interests of the children in the household, but there is room for interpretation as to what that exactly means.
If the parent who has always been the primary caregiver has a major opportunity in another state, a relocation with the children may or may not be possible. The relocation must be in the children’s best interests independent of what may be the parent’s best interest. The courts may acknowledge that it would be good for the children to travel with that parent and pursue a higher standard of living elsewhere. Other times, the impact the move might have on the relationship with the other parent might the reason for concern.
Parents hoping to relocate out of Virginia typically have to provide written notice to the courts and their child’s other parent ahead of time. When both parents cooperate, a modification can be easy to secure. When there is a dispute about the move, then there may need to be a court hearing.
Parents who frame their modification requests by focusing on what the children in the family need will have a grant chance in securing their preferred outcome in relocation hearings. Understanding how Virginia handles such cases and preparing for various outcomes will benefit those hoping to secure a modification to an existing custody order.