Relocation: What Happens When One Co-Parent Wants to Move Away With the Child?
It’s a common scenario- Jack and Jill get married, have children and then, unfortunately, divorce. Jack and Jill now share custody of their minor children. Jill then gets a better job offer out of town and wants to relocate with the minor children. Jack is furious. This scenario begs the question-What happens when you want to move but you are in a custody arrangement with your child’s other parent?
As a general rule, you may not relocate with the child unless every individual who has custody rights to the child consents to the proposed relocation or the court approves the relocation. So what qualifies as a relocation? While the law does not set forth an exact distance that qualifies as relocation, any move that would make it difficult for the other parent to follow the custody schedule and exercise their custody time would be labeled as a relocation.
In the above scenario, if Jill wants to relocate she must send notice to Jack and any other individual with custody rights via certified mail sixty days before the proposed relocation or on the tenth day after the date Jill knows that she will be relocating if she couldn’t have reasonably complied with the sixty day time frame.
What if Jill just decides to relocate without providing Jack with the proper notice? Jack’s attorney may still work to get Jack into court at which point a hearing would be held on the relocation. A hearing will also be held if Jack is given notice of the relocation and objects.
At the hearing a variety of factors will be considered in determine whether to allow the relocation– the child’s relationship with the party proposing the relocation, the age, developmental stage, and needs of the child, the feasibility of preserving the relationship with the non-relocating party, the child’s preference, whether there is an established pattern of conduct between the party to promote or thwart the relationship with the other parent, whether the relocation will enhance the general quality of life for the party seeking the relocation and for the child, the reasons and motivation for the relocation, and any history of abuse.
Regardless of whether you are the individual seeking to relocate or the individual fighting the proposed relocation, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. The attorneys at LaMonaca Law are experts in handling relocation matters. To schedule an appointment, click or call 610-892-3877.