Dear Clients and Friends,
People move for many reasons – a promising career opportunity, to be closer to a new romantic interest, having a rural vs an urban life style…. Whatever the reason, relocating can be more complicated if you are a divorced parent.
The biggest issue to consider before relocating is how that move might affect your parenting plan. Most divorced couples living in the same area share parenting time. Perhaps it’s joint custody where the children spend half the week with you and half the week with your ex. Or perhaps your ex has the children one night a week and every other weekend. If you’re moving makes your current arrangement no longer feasible then your relocation will require a court order, or a court approved modification of your parenting plan.
If you and your ex-spouse have maintained a working post-divorce relationship you should be able by mutual agreement to modify your parenting plan. This new agreement can then be drafted by us for each of your signatures and presented to the Court for a judges approval. Alternatively, the court will determine a new parenting plan.
If you’re moving because of a new job. A court will look more favorably upon relocation if you can show that this move will meaningfully improve the financial situation for your children, improve their education, their opportunities and it will provide them with a higher standard of living. Of course, proof of a higher salary, better benefits and a lack of decent opportunities in your field where you now live will be required.
If you’re moving to be closer to family and you can demonstrate that you’ll have a stronger support system, and you can show how your children will benefit by being closer to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, the likelihood of a court supporting your position will be enhanced.
If you want to relocate because you’re getting remarried, that alone will not convince a judge to sign off on the move. But if you can show specifics about how the new living situation will help your children — perhaps a better financial situation, a more stable family unit or additional emotional support — you will be in a strengthened position.
Moving because you simply want to give yourself and your kids a fresh start in a new location is more of a challenge and least likely to be successful when compared to the negatives of pulling your children away from their other parent, their current friends, schools and daily routines. However, the more evidence you can provide along the line of better schools, better health facilities or more enrichment opportunities — the stronger your position will be.
Beyond being able to justify the move, you’ll need to be able to convince the court that it won’t harm your kids’ relationship with their other parent. This requires a showing that you’re committed to having them maintain strong ties with your ex. You should be prepared to be flexible on summer and school vacation time and to be as helpful as possible with the logistics of transportation.
Along these same lines, if your spouse is willing to travel to see your kids regularly, you’ll need to be accommodating in terms of providing access. It’s also important that you show a willingness to give your ex plenty of contact with your children via phone and through apps such as FaceTime and Skype. If the court is convinced that you’re committed to keeping your ex fully informed about your children’s education, health, extracurricular activities and athletic endeavors you will then be in your best mode for success.
These issues are important to your children, to the court and to you and your ex It is best to address them as soon as you start thinking about relocating.
Call us on how to best manage these issues and to see if we can of help. We continue to provide a free phone evaluation on your matter.