When a Custody Order is in place, nothing can be more daunting than the idea of one parent facing the decision of moving. Whether moving because of work or life, this can be a very stressful time, and present significant challenges to the family dynamic. This process of relocation can cause havoc for the Custody Order in both children and parents alike. Relocation can also create a huge burden on the non-relocating parent depending on the distance the relocating parent plans to move. To prevent some of these issues, the Courts have created a system to deal with relocation.
The Courts define relocation as a move that, “significantly impairs the ability of a non-relocating party to exercise custodial rights.” It is often a good idea to treat any move as a relocation, whether you think it will affect the other parent’s custodial rights or not. No relocation may occur without either the consent of all parties with custodial rights or the permission of the Courts.
Whenever a party wishes to relocate, they must submit notice to every party with custody rights to the child. This notice must be submitted at least sixty days before the parent intends to move. If the parent lacks an advance notice, or if, for example, their job is requiring them to move on short notice, this notice must be submitted no more than ten days after the parent finds out. This notice should include the address of the new residence, the name of the new school district, the reason for the relocation, and a proposal for a new custody schedule. Upon receiving this notice, the non-relocating party can either consent or object to the relocation. Should they object, a Judge will address the matter in question via a relocation hearing.
When the non-relocating party objects to relocation, the matter will be heard by the Court at an expedited hearing before the relocation occurs. At the Hearing, the Court will utilize a ten-factor test to determine if relocation is in the best interest of the child. These ten factors include, but are not limited to: the impact the relocation will have on the child’s development, the feasibility of preserving the child’s relationship with the non- relocating parent, the child’s preference, and whether the Relocation will enhance the relocating party’s quality of life.
Should you find yourself in a similar situation, or you anticipate that a relocation will become an important part of your custody case, consult with The Banks Law Group as soon as possible to address your situation and create an appropriate plan.