The thought of your child moving to another state or country is devastating when a custody agreement already limits your time with them. Thus, if you learn that your child’s other parent wants to relocate with them, you should know your options.
Stay calm, seek legal guidance
It is easy – and perhaps natural – to panic after hearing about a possible relocation. However, know that the law requires parents wishing to relocate with a child for whom they share custody to secure the permission of the courts or the other parent before moving to another state.
So, they generally cannot lawfully pack up a child and move away.
In the meantime, you can discuss your legal options with an attorney. Such options can include blocking the relocation or modifying a custody order, depending on the details of a specific case.
Factors to consider
Whether you are assessing your response to a relocation request or building a case for the courts, taking the following factors into account is crucial:
- Will the move be more disruptive to your child’s well-being than beneficial?
- What is the reason for the move? Does your ex have a new job? Are they moving to be closer to family?
- What is your current relationship with your child like?
- Does your child have a preference?
- Does your child have strong ties to your community?
- Would your child be separated from half- or step-siblings?
- What would the living conditions be like if your child moved away?
These factors are crucial to consider when faced with a relocation request, as they can have a very real impact on your child’s daily life and your relationship with them.
However, it can be challenging as a parent to think about these matters objectively and without bias. This is another reason why legal guidance is crucial in these situations.
Change can be inevitable if your child’s other parent wants to move away. Even if the court blocks relocation, the other parent can still move without your child.
That said, changes should still be fair and in your child’s best interests. Focusing on this when considering relocation and modification is crucial in protecting your child and your rights.