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How to proceed when a parental relocation plan is in the future

Once the divorce dust has settled and each parent has come to an agreement concerning their child's custody, many families work to establish a regular routine. It may then come as a shock when one party announces that he or she has decided to make a major change. While each state has its own laws regarding a parental relocation, there are likely many families in New York that have faced this situation.

Unless the parents had included a specific clause when their custody agreement was drafted, any plans for one or the other parent to move away may spark an intense dispute. Depending on the situation, a parent may have to prove why a move is in the best interest of the child. Conversely, if the non-custodial parent can show how such a move would be detrimental to the child, then a court may either reject the relocation plan or award custody to the other parent.

Moreover, the parent who is petitioning for the move may also be required to provide a plan that stipulates a new visitation schedule. Ideally, the plan would make allowances for extended visits in light of the possibly increased hardship of commuting to spend time with the child. Additionally, some states require the parents to split the costs of transportation if the relocation resulted in a significant distance apart, while others place the burden of the costs on the parent who chose to move.

It is important to remember that each family has its own unique needs, and as such, each may seek the remedy that serves them best. A judge could ultimately determine whether a parental relocation would be beneficial to the child involved or harmful to the relationship between the child and each parent. New York families that are attempting to reach an accord on these issues or related matters may benefit from researching the laws in their state along with the guidance of those resources experienced in helping families reach the best solution for their situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Relocation Laws", Oct. 24, 2014

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