When parents part ways, one of the most significant concerns that often arises is child custody. Decisions about where the children will live, how often they will see each parent and other aspects of their upbringing can become emotionally charged and legally complex.
An issue that can complicate matters further is when one parent wishes to relocate with the children.
Custody arrangements matter
First, they should consider the existing custody arrangement. If both parents share joint legal and physical custody, both typically have a say in major decisions, including relocation. However, if one parent has primary physical custody or sole custody, that individual could have more flexibility when it comes to moving. Nevertheless, relocation may still require court approval, which depends on the parent’s specific situation.
Best interests of the child
The national divorce rate for 2021 was 6.9 out of 1,000 women. During a divorce, the courts primarily base their custody decisions on the best interests of the child, including well-being, stability and happiness. Therefore, when they evaluate relocation requests, courts will consider factors such as the child’s bond with both parents and the potential impact of the move on these relationships. Courts will also evaluate how the move may affect the child’s daily life, education and overall stability.
Reasons for relocation and consent requirements
The parent requesting the move should provide valid reasons for wanting to relocate, such as a job opportunity or the need to be closer to family. However, this parent needs to provide notice to the other parent well in advance of the intended move. Additionally, the non-relocating parent might need to consent to the move to prevent legal consequences.
For the best results, parents should avoid rushing to court. Instead, they try more collaborative, less adversarial approaches, such as mediation or negotiation.