Parental relocation is a significant concern for divorced and unmarried parents. It is important for parents to understand the circumstances when a parent can relocate and how the process of requesting to relocate works.
The basics of parental relocation
Relocation can be a complicated issue because it can disrupt time the non-custodial parent has with the child and the time the child, of course, shares with that parent. Because of the importance of parental relocation, child custody agreements may address the topic of parental relocation. If the topic is not addressed in the custody agreement, the family law judge may decide on any relocation request. The child custody agreement may specify that the custodial parent cannot relocate outside of a specified geographic area.
If the family law court is asked to make a determination on a relocation request, the family law court will determine if the relocation is in the best interests of the child based on factors including:
- The reason the parent is seeking the relocation;
- The reason the other parent is fighting the relocation;
- The quality of the child’s relationship with each of their parents;
- The impact the proposed relocation will have on the child’s future contact with the non-custodial parent and the child’s siblings;
- The degree to which the relocation may improve the child’s life, including financially, emotionally and educationally; and
- The ability to maintain good relationships between the non-custodial parent and the child through the visitation arrangement.
Be prepared for child custody modofications
Child custody and all of the considerations impacting it are important for divorced parents to be familiar with. For that reason, parents should understand the implications of a parental relocation request and how the family law court addresses them.