Generally, when one parent desires to relocate to another city, county, state or country with their child, he or she needs to obtain the consent of the other parent. If the non-moving parent does not consent, the moving parent can request a move-away order from the court.
MOVE AWAY REQUEST WHEN ONE PARENT HAS SOLE OR PRIMARY CUSTODY
Generally, a parent who has sole or primary physical custody has a presumptive right to move away with a child. That is, he or she does not have to prove to the court the move is necessary.
However, the non-custodial parent has the right to challenge the custodial parent’s desire to move away. If the non-custodial parent challenges the move, that parent must prove to the court it would be detrimental to the child if the custodial parent were allowed to relocate.
If the non-custodial parent is able to show the relocation is not in the child’s best interest, he or she may then request a change in custody.
MOVE AWAY REQUEST WHEN BOTH PARENTS SHARE JOINT CUSTODY
If the parents share joint physical custody, the moving parent must show the court the move is in the child’s best interest—if the other parent opposes the move.
FACTORS THE COURT CONSIDERS IN A MOVE-AWAY REQUEST
The factors the court considers in determining whether the relocation is in a child’s best interest or if the child would suffer detriment from the relocation (and in turn, whether custody should be modified) are as follows:
- Child’s age
- Child’s relationship with both parents
- Distance of the move
- Reasons for the proposed move
- Extent to which the parents are sharing custody
- Child’s interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement
- Wishes of the child (if they are mature enough for such an inquiry to be appropriate)
- Relationship between the parents:
- Their ability to communicate and cooperate effectively; and
- The willingness to put their child’s interest ahead of their own.
In a move-away case, it is important for a parent requesting the move-away to frame the request in a way that will show the move away is in the child’s best interest and will not frustrate the non-custodial parent’s relationship with their child.
When opposing a move-away request, the parent would need to show the move would be detrimental to their child (e.g., the move would frustrate his or her ability to have frequent and continuing contact with the child).
Move-away cases are among the most complex of all family law matters, and the consequences of a court’s ruling can have a profound impact on both the parents and child.
Whether you are the moving or non-moving parent, contact us today for a free confidential phone consultation so we can explain the process and explain your options.