Anytime a couple with children decides to divorce, custody of the children must be approved by a court of law. A judge will usually honor a custody arrangement created by the parents, but these arrangements may not remain feasible during the entire period of time the children are minors.
New opportunities can arise that may cause the custodial parent to want to relocate to a new city or state with the children in tow. Learn more about relocating with children after a divorce so that you will be prepared to face this hurdle if the need arises.
1. Only Moves of Significant Distance Affect Custody
Most custody orders allow for some flexibility when it comes to where the custodial parent and children live. The legal standard for deciding when a custody order must be changed is when the custodial parent wants to move a significant distance.
The court defines a significant distance as any distance that would interfere with the non-custodial parent's ability to maintain a strong relationship with their children.
If you believe that your desired move could be classified as a significant distance change, you will need to file a motion with the court to approve the move.
2. A Motion to Relocate Is Usually Required
All custody arrangements are made legal with motions approved by a family court judge. Some parents are able to discuss a potential move and reach an agreement without legal intervention.
In the event the non-custodial parent disagrees with a proposed move, the custodial parent will have to file a motion to relocate before taking any steps to make their desired move a reality.
If the motion to relocate is approved, the original custody order will be altered to include the stipulations set forth in the motion.
3. Judges Consider Many Factors When Deciding on a Motion to Relocate
The primary responsibility of the court is to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children when it comes to custody disputes.
Once a judge receives a motion to relocate, a range of factors will be taken into consideration before a decision is issued. The judge will evaluate the level of involvement the non-custodial parent has had in the children's lives.
The wishes of both parents and the children themselves (if they are old enough) will also be taken into account.
The judge will also look at the reason why the custodial parent wants to move to determine if it is valid.
Contact a divorce lawyer to learn more.