Relocating? Think before you move.
If you are a divorced or separated parent who is planning to move out of county, out of state, or out of the country, you are obligated, under the custody statute, to take certain steps before doing so. Failing to follow the requirements of the Relocation section of the statute could have dire consequences including losing custody of your child or children. It is extremely important that a parent who is planning to relocate speak to an experienced family law attorney to determine what is needed in order to relocate with their child or children without the risk of consequence.
A parent is free to move where ever and whenever they choose; however, if they intend to take their child or children with them, they cannot move out of county, out of state, or out of the country without the agreement of the other parent or a court order allowing them to do so.
The relocating parent must first serve written notice which includes specific information outlined by the custody statute. The notice must include information such as the new address and phone number and the child’s new school district. Notice must be sent by certified mail no less than 60 days prior to the moving date, and must include a counter-affidavit giving the non-relocating party the opportunity to object to the relocation of the children at issue. In extenuating circumstances, the Court may allow a relocation with less than 60 days notice.
If the non-relocating parent does not file the counter-affidavit within 30 days notifying the Court of their objection, the relocating parent can relocate without further action as the non-relocating parent will have forfeited the right to object. It is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney if you receive a relocation notice, as you must object in the proper manner in order to preserve your right to do so and for a judge to hear the case and make a determination as to whether the relocation will be permitted.
If the non-relocating parent objects, a hearing will be scheduled, and the relocating parent has the burden of proving that, based upon 10 factors outlined in the Relocation section of the custody statute, it is best for the child or children to relocate. These factors include whether it is feasible to preserve the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child, the reasons and motivations for the relocation, and whether the relocation will enhance the child’s quality of life.
The judge must consider the 10 relocation factors and the 16 enumerated custody factors set forth by the custody statute in order to determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to allow the relocation.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877