The issue of parental relocation arises whenever there is an existing court order concerning parenting time and one of the parents wishes to move with a child to a residence that “substantially changes the geographic ties” between the child and the other parent. It is important to note that the issue of parental relocation is not limited to moves out of the state.
Even if the non-moving parent does not contest the proposed move of the child, all existing orders concerning parenting time, decision-making responsibilities and child support will need to be reevaluated in light of the child’s move and modified accordingly before relocation occurs.
If the non-moving parent contests the move, the parent wishing to relocate with the child must obtain the court’s permission before doing so. While the court cannot force a parent to live in any particular location, the court does have the authority to either approve the child’s relocation or prohibit the child’s relocation.
In order to make this determination the court will consider the following: The reasons why the parent wishes to relocate with the child; The reasons why the opposing parent is objecting to the proposed relocation; The history and quality of each party’s relationship with the child; The educational opportunities for the child at the existing location and the proposed new location; The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and at the proposed new location; Any advantages of the child remaining with the primary caregiver; The anticipated impact of the move on the child; Whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable parenting time schedule if the change is permitted; Any other relevant factors bearing on the best interests of the child; Whether the child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical health or significantly impairs the child’s emotional development and the harm likely to be caused by a change of environment is outweighed by the advantage of a change to the child. The attorneys at Harrington Brewster & Clein, P.C. recognize the significant impact relocation has on families and we are experienced and successful in both negotiating and litigating relocation cases.