Regardless of the reasons for relocation, a court is unlikely to permit a move that significantly cuts down on the non-custodial parent’s time with the child. It also will look closely at whether or not travel between the two locations is reasonable and feasible. Get more strategies to succeed in a relocation custody case.
A parent seeking a relocation will need to show the court valid justifications for moving and that the move will provide access to better healthcare, education and family opportunities. Documenting visitation and presenting a detailed schedule is also important.
1. Educate Yourself on the Law
A well-prepared parent can make a huge difference in a relocation custody case. The relocating parent should compile strong evidence such as documentation of job offers, housing arrangements, and local resources available to the child.
The relocating parent should also be ready to explain why the move is in the best interests of the child. This includes providing proof that the new location is safe and has better education opportunities for the child.
It is important for the relocating parent to familiarize themselves with the specific language in the existing child custody order regarding parenting time and visitation access. In addition, it is helpful to understand how the court typically decides on these cases. The courts are governed by the “best interests” standard, which means that they favor stability and consistency in a child’s environment.
2. Be Prepared
Many parents get into a hurry when it comes to filing a relocation case and make mistakes that hurt their chances of success. If a parent wishes to relocate with their children, they must provide the court with a thorough and compelling argument about why the move is in the best interests of the child.
This involves demonstrating that the new location will provide benefits to the child, such as a higher standard of living, better educational opportunities and access to extra-curricular activities, close family and friends, and other factors. It also involves presenting clear and viable visitation solutions that will allow the non-custodial parent to maintain a relationship with their child.
If the court determines that the move is not in the best interests of the child, it may order a change in custody. The relocating parent must then work with the non-custodial parent to develop a parenting plan that outlines visitation schedules, regular communication methods and other relevant issues.
3. Communicate with Your Lawyer
Relocation laws exist to maintain consistency for children and to protect their relationships with both parents. The parent who wishes to relocate must convince the court that a move is in their child’s best interests. This requires considering all the factors and proving them with evidence.
For example, if the reasons behind your relocation are financial, you must have documentation that you’ve made every effort to obtain employment with similar terms in another location and were unsuccessful. This can be supported by a job search diary. You also must show the non-custodial parent how they’ll be able to continue their relationship with your child, such as extended holiday and school break visits or regular video chats. Having all this information organized and ready to present will help your case greatly.
4. Be Patient
The judge’s paramount concern in relocation cases is whether the move would be in the best interests of the children. If the parents can demonstrate that the child’s relationship with their non-custodial parent can be maintained with regular visitation and other means (such as extended holiday and summer visits or video chat), then a relocation is more likely to be approved.
If one parent has primary physical custody or joint legal custody, but the other parent wishes to relocate with the child, it’s important that both parents are prepared for a long and complex court battle. This requires careful planning, thorough documentation and solid evidence. Inexperienced attorneys or a lack of preparation can spell disaster for the outcome of your case. Having an attorney that specializes in child custody cases is essential.
5. Be Prepared
Whether you are seeking to relocate with your child or are fighting the relocation request of your ex-spouse, it is important to be prepared. A judge will look at a variety of factors when deciding on a custody issue including the motivation for the move and how it will impact the child’s relationship with their non-custodial parent (if there is one), as well as their social network, family relationships and education.
If you can provide the court with a plan showing how your child’s relationship with their non-custodial partner will continue (including regular video chats, extended holiday and school break visits) it will be helpful to your case. Keeping a log of contact and quality of contact between you and your child is also a great idea.