Custodial Relocation

A parent with primary custody must get court approval to relocate to a distant part of New York or to another state.  The non-custodial parent has a right to challenge this petition.  The burden is on the custodial parent seeking to move. Overall, courts accord the greatest weight to what is in the child’s best interests.  Factors the court will consider include, but are not limited to, each parent’s good faith reasons for seeking or opposing the move, the quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and noncustodial parents, the impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent, the degree to which the custodial parent’s and child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the move, and the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-custodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements.

We carefully analyze each relocation request and its possible ramifications because it may impact other aspects of a divorce agreement or ruling. For example, if relocation is allowed, the court may reduce child support payments to make up for the cost of transportation for child visits. The court may also change the visitation schedule from alternate weekends to longer visits during school breaks and the summer. Additionally, the court may determine alternative methods of visitation (e.g., Skype) given recent extensive technological advances.

For clients seeking to relocate, it is important to petition immediately because a request may take time to process, particularly if it is contested. Likewise for clients opposing relocation, it is important to assert visitation and custody rights as early as possible.  For clients requesting or fighting parent relocations, we prepare thorough petitions that not only address how the request may affect the child’s best interest but also evaluate and address such collateral issues as impact to support payments to show how an opposite result may also affect a client’s or child’s overall rights and welfare.

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