Once a divorce has been finalized and the parenting plan is put into effect, relocation can be murky waters for the parents.  A Court’s local rules as well as all changes being evaluated in what is in the Best Interests of the Child may impact a parent’s ability to relocate without prior approval from the Court.

The exception is consent from the other parent or an agreed upon radius in the parenting plan.  A well-crafted parenting plan could further restrict (ie. maintaining a certain school district), as opposed to a more significant geographic restriction.

However, the nonrelocating parent’s failure to object to the relocation does not mean that the move is permissible.  The Court may still refuse to permit the relocation based on several factors. These factors could include:

  1. Distance
  2. Reason
  3. Impact on the relationship between non-relocating parent and the child(ren)
  4. Impact on the child(ren)’s relationship with the community and the familial ties the child has to the community they are relocating to and from
  5. If the relocation is in the overall best interest for the child

If the Court ultimately permits the relocation, the parenting plan will need to be modified to reflect the changes. The modified plan could involve more than just the address of the new residence. The Court could be forced to, depending on the distance of the move, change the parenting time and support in the parenting plan.  This could affect the routine and holiday parenting time schedules. The relocating parent may also be responsible for any costs associated with getting the child to and from visitations with the other parent.

A relocation by one parent can impact every aspect of a the lives of the parents and child(ren) involved.  It is important to hire an experienced family law attorney in your area to help guide you through these murky waters. Zachary D. Smith, LLC can assist you in making the best decision for your divorce and your business.