When parties separate, they often have to find new housing options. When one party’s move to a new residence is such that the other parent’s custodial time with the minor children will be significantly impacted, the moving party cannot relocate to the new residence without either first obtaining the consent of the other parent, or if the other parent will not provide the consent, getting permission from the court to relocate. If the move does not significantly impact the other parent’s custodial rights (such as when the move will enable the parent to remain in the same school district, or if the move is within the same neighborhood), then no permission to relocate is required. Because “significantly impact” is not defined by the courts, it may be necessary to seek legal advice as to whether or not the intended move will trigger the relocation requirements.
If the move does significantly impact the other parent’s custodial rights, the first step is to notify the other parent of your intention to move by completing a Notice of Proposed Relation at least sixty (60) days prior to your intended move. You must provide the other parent with thirty (30) days to respond to your Proposed Relocation. If they do not respond within 30 days or he or she indicates in writing that they are not opposed to the move, then you are free to relocate without an involvement from the Court.
If the other parent objects to your proposed relocation, you will then need to file a request with the Court to hold a hearing on your request to relocate. In order for the Court to grant the relocation request, the Court must determine that the relocation is in the best interest of the children. In evaluating whether or not the move is in the best interest of the children, the court will have to consider:
- The nature and quality of the relationship between the children and the parent who wishes to relocate as well as with the parent who does not consent to the relocation
- The age, developmental stage and individual needs of the children and the impact that the proposed relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational and emotional development
- The feasibility and likelihood of maintain the relationship between the children and the non-relocating parent considering the logistics of continuing the relationship with the non-relocating parent and the financial circumstances of the parties as it relates to the ability to exercise the logistics necessary to continue the relationship with the non-relocating parent
- The child’s preference, given the age and maturing of the child
- Whether either parent has historically attempted to promote or thwart the relationship with the other parent
- Whether the proposed relocation will enhance the quality of life for the party requesting the relocation
- Whether the proposed relocation will enhance the quality of life for the child
- The reasons and motivation of the relocating party for requesting the right to relocate with the child
- The present and past abuses committed by either party or member of either party’s household and whether there is a continued risk of harm to the child or an abused party if the relocation is not granted
- Any other relevant factor
If the relocation request is granted by the Court, the custody schedule will typically need to be modified as the custody schedule prior to the move will not likely work after the move.
The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices have assisted clients in both requesting a relocation and in defending against another party’s relocation request. We can assist you in your relocation needs. To schedule a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case, please contact our office at 717-731-8114