What Is Involved in Child Relocation After Divorce?

One of the most hotly contested issues in divorce proceedings is that of child custody. Neither parent wants to lose custody of their child, and for good reason. Factor in the potential of child relocation, and the issue becomes even more hotly contested. Reasons for relocation can vary greatly. Whether it’s a new job, a change of scenery, financial circumstances, or to get away from an abusive spouse or parent, there are certain things you should know about the legal process and the rights of the non-custodial parent in these cases.

Always keep in mind that the court is going to do what’s in the best interests of the child. That’s always first and foremost in any decision they make regarding child custody, support and relocation. If the non-custodial parent can prove that there’s a change of circumstances that would justify a change in the custody arrangement that would give him or her joint physical and legal custody, they may be able to prevent the relocation. If the non-custodial parent shows that relocating is not in the child’s best interest and would actually be detrimental to the child, they may successfully prevent the relocation through the courts.

If the non-custodial parent argues that the relocation will be detrimental to the child, the court will consider the case and make its decision based on varying factors. These might include the child’s relationship with both parents, previous arrangements, what detriment would arise if the child is unable to see the non-custodial parent as regularly as he or she currently does, financial matters, and quality of life in the new location compared to the current location.

The court will even consider the preference of the child. Asking the child to choose between the parents, however, is not a good way to approach this. Listen to experienced professionals when it comes to determining the child’s preferences. The child’s age and his or her maturity level will factor into the weight the court places on the child’s preference.

Do not violate a child custody arrangement issued by court order. Doing so may place you in legal trouble. If you are trying to escape an abusive spouse or parent, inform the police of your concerns and do what is in the best interests of you and your child’s immediate and long-term safety. Remember, the court will act in the best interests of the child. Never fabricate such concerns, however, as this can place you in trouble and is extremely unethical.

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