Parental Relocation & Move Away Orders
Currently, the right of a parent to move out of state with a child is an area in which the states are divided. In the past, most courts generally allowed custodial parents to move, but now, many have put a restriction on the custodial parent’s rights. These courts prefer preserving continuity in the relationship between the child and noncustodial parent.
The law may say a child cannot be moved without permission of the other parent or permission of the court. A parent who seeks to move with the child may be required to give notice (such as sixty days) before a proposed moving date. There are several factors that courts consider when deciding whether to allow a move with the child.
Custodial parent’s reason for the move:
If the parent who seeks to move with the child has positive factors in favor of the move, than this would be a good-faith reason. Some example of good-faith reasons are: joining a new spouse, getting a better job that provides more income, and moving to be near extended family. If a job change is the basis for the move, it cannot be a general hope of finding new employment. The plan for a new job needs to be very specific. If the reason for moving is to deprive a noncustodial parent of contact with the child, that would be considered a bad-faith reason. If the court believes the main reason for the move is to diminish contact between the child and the noncustodial parent, the court is not likely to allow the move.
Noncustodial parent’s reason for opposing the move away orders:
A potential factor in denying permission for an out of state move could be if the noncustodial parent has a good reason for opposing the move. A good reason for opposing the relocation is often the child’sclose relationship with the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent would argue that it is not in the best interest of the child because the move would disrupt the frequent contact between the child and noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent is not close to the child or has not regularly exercised visitation, the court is more likely to allow the move.
Advantages to the child
Showing that the child will benefit from the move will play a positive factor in favor of the move. Some example of this would be, the child will go to a better school or be in a climate that is better for the child’s health. The above are some factors that will support the request for the move. The parent who feels that the child will benefit from the relocation should be ready with specific evidence to back up the move. Such as, witnesses knowledgeable about the difference in school systems or medical testimony regarding the child’s health. If the custodial parent will benefit from the move, such as being happier at a new job or with a new spouse, than the court will assume it will also benefit the child. Other courts do not make such an assumption and want more specific proof of some benefit to the child.
Restructuring Visitation Rights
A factor in favor of allowing the move would be if the court believes that reasonable restructuring of visitation can preserve and promote a good relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent. Restructuring of visitation usually involves scheduling more visitations over holiday breaks and during the summer. In some cases, the noncustodial parent and child may actually spend more time together each year under the restructured schedule than under the original schedule, although the restructured schedule will have less frequent periods of visitation. If the frequency of contact is more important than large blocks for time, than the court decision may be less likely to allow the move. The court is also less likely to allow relocation if the parents cannot afford the visits over a long distance. If visitation is affordable, the court might reduce child support in order to facilitate visits. Also the court might assess the cost of travel on the parent who seeks to move.
In a situation where both parents have joint physical custody with the child spending a substantial amount of time with both parents, a court may treat the request to move like an original custody determination. The court will try to decide which parent will best meet the needs of the child. The court will also consider the child’s attachment to the current home, school and community as well as the above factors.
Moving will have a major impact on your children and therefore your custody arrangement. Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, you need to contact an custody attorney experienced with move away orders. Contact us at the Custody & Visiation Rights Law Office of Heath L. Baker today at (951)222-2228 so we can work with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your children.