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Helping those facing the prospect of parental relocation

After a dissolution of marriage has been finalized and the dust has settled, divorced parents and their children will slowly but surely start to develop a routine that accounts for their new shared parenting arrangements or visitation schedules.

School pick-ups and drop-offs will be arranged, work schedules will be coordinated and extracurricular activity calendars will be shared to name only a few. In fact, some parents will even move across town just to facilitate this new reality.

What happens, however, when one parent informs the other that they will be moving across town, across the state or to an entirely new location?

While announcements like these understandably cause considerable stress for everyone, it can prove to be especially acute for those parents who would essentially be left behind by the parental relocation.

It's important for those parents who find themselves in these situations, however, to keep their emotions in check and understand that they do have options:

  • Most custody orders typically contain provisions that prohibit a parent from moving the child outside a predetermined geographic area, such that they cannot undertake any relocation absent a court order.
  • Even if custody orders are lacking such provisions, parents looking to relocate with a child must still provide the other parent with at least 60 days notice, giving them more than enough time to challenge the relocation in court.

Indeed, the parent proposing the relocation will need to demonstrate that 1) it is in the best interests of the child and 2) that it is being undertaken for compelling reasons (job relocation, etc.).

In the event the family court judge does approve the parental relocation, it's also important for parents affected by the move to remember that the courts have considerable discretion in these matters. For instance, a family court judge could adjust existing child support obligations to account for travel expenses for the parent affected by the move or even order extended visitation time.

At the Law Offices of Wendy Wood, we understand how frightening and how frustrating a proposed parental relocation can be. That's precisely why we urge you to contact us as soon as possible upon learning of your former spouse's plan so that we can start discussing your options and devise a strategy for moving forward.   

Please visit our website to learn more.

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