When people get divorced, they may not realize just how much things can change over time; however, the family courts are well-aware of this fact. After all, they've witnessed changes among divorced families for many years. One of the biggest changes can be a parental relocation, which occurs when the custodial parent moves to a different county or even a completely different state.
Sometimes, the non-custodial parent is fine with the move and has no objections. Other times, the non-custodial parent is not okay with the move, and they contest it in court. Either way, the parent who wishes to move with the children should go to court for a relocation application modification. Otherwise, relocation without the court's blessing can lead to a legal nightmare for the custodial parent.
When Do Courts Approve Relocation Actions?
Relocation actions are handled on a case-by-case basis. Before rendering a decision, the Family Court will carefully consider the family's circumstances. Even when a non-custodial parent objects to the move, if the move is in the children's best interests, the Court may decide to approve it anyways, especially when the children will have better economic and educational advantages if they relocate.
In parental relocation cases, the court considers:
- Each parent's wishes,
- The child's wishes,
- The reason for the move,
- The child's ties to the community,
- The child's ties to school, friends, and extended family,
- The benefits of moving,
- The actual custody and visitation schedule (not necessarily what it says in the court papers), and
- How the child's relationship with the non-custodial parent will be affected.
In our experience, custodial parents often file relocation actions because they are remarrying, or because they have a job offer, or because they want to move home where they'll be closer to family who can help them with childcare while they work.
What are the outcomes of a relocation action? In some cases, the judge approves the move. Sometimes, a change in custody is in order, especially when the child is older and does not want to move, or does not get along with Mom or Dad's new spouse. Other times, it's best to approve the move, but the non-custodial parent decides to move too. This way, the existing child custody arrangement remains uninterrupted.
To learn more about relocation actions on Long Island, contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation!