During or after a divorce, a situation may arise where one parent may wish to relocate to an out-of-state location. This can be for any number of reasons, including wishing to be closer to family, a new job, remarriage, or financial situations. In many cases, these requests are met with negativity from the other parents. This can often turn hostile and emotional.
Image via Flickr
The courts and legal system often are brought into the play because the divorced parents are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement. How the court decides is determined by many factors.
A Balancing Act
A court needs to balance many factors when faced with these situations. One of the main issues is balancing one parent’s right to freely move to a new location and the other parent’s rights to a child-parent relationship. These requests are often decided using existing court documents and agreements that outline any existing custody agreements. In addition, the court will also look at how far the divorce has proceeded: Is it in the first stages or has it been finalized?
Many state laws attempt to protect the child or children in question and their rights to maintain parental relationships with both parents. Each state has different laws concerning this situation. For instance, some states will require that the non-custodial parent agree—in writing—to the relocation.
People wanting to relocate should seek information from qualified legal professionals as to the specific laws of the state in which they reside. These issues need to be resolved before one parent moves out of state during a divorce in order to maintain balance and legalities.
Effect on the Children
If the case proceeds to the court system, the parent who wishes to relocate should examine the reasons for the move and if they influence the children in a positive manner. He or she should also be ready to be involved in a custody evaluation by the courts. In addition to whether the move would be beneficial to the children, other issues will be examined such as:
- Financial impacts, such as higher transportation costs
- Visitation changes, including longer, less frequent visits
- Involvement of the other ex-spouse and how he or she is exercising visitation under the current custody agreement
Finally, it is imperative that the parent desiring to move can prove that this relocation is not an attempt to keep the children away from the non-custodial parent.
In conclusion, the parent who desires the move must determine that this is the best scenario for the children. Perhaps that higher paying job is not as beneficial as letting them remain in an on-going, secure parental relationship.