Relocation of a Custodial Parent

Few domestic relations cases present such difficult and intense issues as child custody cases involving relocation of a parent.

Relocation cases present some of the most disturbing problems that our courts are called upon to resolve. In these cases, the interest of a parent who wishes to move away with the children is pitted against those of the other parent who has a powerful objection to the relocation. Moreover, the court must weigh the paramount interest of the child, which may or may not be an irreconcilable conflict with those of one or both of the parents.

In the past, relocation cases did not arise often because most people lived out their lives in the same general area. Over the last three decades, however, as divorce has become more common and society more mobile, relocation cases have occurred with increasing frequency.

I have personally litigated many of these cases with success. The court looks at a host of factors and circumstances in considering each case. Some of these factors include:

  1. whether the move would be likely to improve the general quality of life for both the primary parent and the child;
  2. whether the relocation is being made or opposed in good faith and not to interfere with or to frustrate the relationship between the child and the other parent or the other parents right of access to the child;
  3. the likelihood that the parent with whom the child resides after the relocation will comply with parenting time orders;
  4. whether the relocation will allow a realistic opportunity for parenting time with each parent;
  5. the extent to which moving or not moving will affect the emotional, physical or the developmental needs of the child;
  6. the motives of the parents and the validity of the reasons given for moving or opposing the move including the extent to which either parent my intend to gain financial advantage regarding continuing child support obligations;
  7. and the potential effects of relocation on the child’s stability

In the vast majority of relocation cases, the motives of the parent seeking to relocate are sincere and the proffered reasons are legitimate. The desire of the other parent for continued regular contact with the child is equally valid in the face of such strongly competing parental interests, a determination of where the child’s best interests lie is often formidable task. Whatever the courts decide, the child will inevitably suffer some loss. The goal of the courts and parties alike should be to make that loss as minimal as possible.

The Law Offices of Robert G. Lewis has handled many relocation cases successfully.