Our society is more mobile than ever, working from home to teleconferencing across the globe. This makes relocation by a custodial parent more likely now than at any time in the past. There are three keys that a custodial parents must establish in order to be allowed to relocate with the children.
First, and perhaps most important, is that the relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason. A job transfer, layoff, and work-related reasons are the most common and likely to be successful. What this means is the relocation’s central reason must be for the benefit and necessity of the custodial parent. A generic request to move may just be viewed as a way to keep the non-custodial parent from spending the maximum amount of time with the children.
Second, assuming the relocation is contested, the relocating parent should present evidence of accounting for the general and specific needs of the children. For instance, if a child has a specific medical need, this would be evidence of a professional in the area of the proposed relocation who could care for the child. Details and advanced consideration can make or break a case.
Third, it is almost always in a child’s best interest to maximize time with the non-custodial parent. The proposed relocating custodial parent should show a sincere understanding this frustration will cause the parent staying behind. However, this is by itself not enough. The relocating parent should have concrete detail of how he or she will keep the relationship between the kids and the non-custodial parent. This may be creative, such as meeting half-way to do exchanges to extending the non-custodial parents time over holidays and summers. No one plan is better than the other. The point is to recognize the impact on the non-relocating parent and account for it with the relocation request.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon who handle relocation cases for parents throughout the State. This is not a solicitation for representation or specific legal advice.