When the custodial parent wants to move out of state, the court must attempt to minimize the impact on the noncustodial parent’s relationship with the child as much as possible. Judges will weigh the custodial parent’s desire to make decisions that directly affect the children, along with the noncustodial parent’s interest in playing a role in the child’s upbringing and ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with the kids.

The court must consider three factors when determining whether to grant a parent’s request to relocate with a child:

  • the potential advantages of the proposed move, including whether it will improve the quality of life for the custodial parent and child
  • the moving parent’s motivations
  • the validity of the nonmoving parent’s objections to the move, and
  • the availability of realistic, substitute visitation for the nonmoving parent.

The parent proposing the relocation has the burden of proving why the move will better the lives of that parent and the child and must also show the integrity of their reasons for moving. Once the custodial parent proves these things, the court won’t prevent the move simply because the noncustodial parent’s visitation won’t continue in the same way after the move.

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