It would be unrealistic to presume that, after a divorce, two individuals would remain in the same area and never consider relocating. Many often choose to relocate to seek a new employment opportunity, to be closer to family, or to simply find a new location in which they can better flourish and grow. For those who have children, however, moving to a new location can cause some major legal hardships. In fact, these types of cases are among the most contentious in family courts, especially when neither party will budge on their demands or expectations.
The courts understand that life is not static and, as such, allow divorced parents to make modifications to their child custody arrangement. That said, they place a high premium on maintaining stability in a child’s life, so you should first make sure that this move will serve the best interests of your children before you request a modification. The courts consider many factors in relocation cases, including:
- The strength, quality, nature, and the extent of the children’s relationship with each parent and other important individuals in the lives of the children.
- Prior agreements that existed between the parents.
- Whether or not the move and resulting disruption of contact between the children and the non-relocating parent would harm the child.
- Whether or not the parent opposing the move or the parent seeking the move is acting in good faith.
- Whether or not there is an established pattern of conduct of the parent seeking the relocation to harm the relationship of the children with the other parent.
- The age and developmental needs of the children.
- If moving or remaining in the same location will negatively impact the children’s physical, educational and emotional development, quality of life, resources, and opportunities available to the children and relocating parent.
- Whether or not there are other feasible alternatives that will allow the children to continue to have easier access to the other parent.
- Whether or not it is feasible or desirable for the other parent to relocate as well.
- Depending on the age of the children, their opinion regarding the move might be considered.
As you can see, your motives for relocating will be deeply scrutinized to ensure you are not seeking a relocation out of spite or to otherwise cause harm to the other parent. Depending on the circumstances, a deposition, mediation, or even formal trial might be necessary to help you and your former spouse reach an agreement.
To help you on your path toward successfully relocating, here are some tips:
- Contemplate why you are moving. If there is any spite involved, you can bet the judge will know it. Not only will the court consider this in its analysis, but you should also be concerned about harming your children by interfering with their relationship with your ex-spouse.
- Give plenty of written notice to the other parent, rather than just a month or 45 days. In some cases, even several months’ notice might not suffice. Keep in mind that the courts are often congested and might not get to your case quickly. Plan accordingly.
- Take the time to provide a detailed custodial plan that allows the other parent to maintain frequent and continuing contact with his or her children. This could include, depending on the distance involved, offering to pay airfare for the children to visit, offering to pay airfare for the parent to visit the children, offering more substantial time with the children during the summer, or other effective compromises that avoid a loss of time and allows the other parent to maintain a quality relationship with the children through regular visits.
One of the most important things you can do during this time is to obtain skilled legal representation to ensure you do not make any mistakes along the way that might cost you a favorable outcome. Contact a family law attorney today.
Staten Island Family Lawyer for Relocation
If you are considering relocating with your children, the Staten Island legal team at The Law Offices of Adelola Sheralynn Dow is well versed in all legal ramifications of a potential relocation. We will provide the legal assistance you need to assert a relocation request, so you can move forward with your life and seek other opportunities that benefit you and your children.
Contact our office today at (800) 560-0922 to schedule a consultation and discuss a legal strategy.