Child Custody & Relocation: Understanding the Law

Life is complicated after a divorce. If there are children involved, the agreements you make with your co-parent spill into all other areas of life. Sometimes the agreements that work well initially become contentious when changes present themselves.
With a major life change like relocation, a compassionate family attorney who knows the ins and outs of the law can guide you through the questions and challenges of child custody during this time.

Making a Big Move

A parent can’t simply leave with a child and relocate. If you or your ex are considering relocation, notification will need to be given. Often divorce agreements will stipulate the rules for doing this. Once notice is given, a new custody agreement and visitation schedule will need to be negotiated with a focus on the child’s best interest.
Divorce agreements may also have built-in restrictions as far as geographic limitations. If your or your ex’s move violates this agreement, that too will need to be negotiated. In some cases, parents can work this out on their own but most likely the courts will need to be involved. In extreme circumstances, the parent who is not moving can file a motion to challenge the relocation or for a temporary restraining order until the issue is resolved.

Considering Your Child’s Best Interests

In assessing the new agreement, the courts will weigh the child’s best interest. If the relocation is to a new state or other significant distance, motives will be weighed. Is the move for a new job? To be closer to other family? To be with a new significant other? The court will decide if this motive is compatible with the child’s needs.
The law assumes joint managing conservatorship is best for the child. That means, unless there is abuse or other cause for concern, having both parents raise the child is in the best-case scenario. The court will advocate for the child and can restrict a parent’s relocation if it feels it is detrimental to their needs.

Negotiating a New Agreement

If the move is allowed, new custody and visitation agreements will need to be drawn up. Arriving at a divorce agreement once is stressful; renegotiating in the face of major changes can be equally challenging without a strong advocate.

Child Custody Issues Resolved for Your Family

The family lay attorneys at Setzer Law Firm know how emotional big life changes can be. They’re even harder when negotiating them with your ex.
If you are dealing with issues of child custody and relocation, contact the family law attorneys at Setzer Law Firm to get clear, direct and professional guidance with your child custody situation. We offer common-sense solutions to life’s difficult problems.