Relocation litigation is hotly contested and can be some of the most intense type of litigation. Usually in a divorce decree, one parent is given the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of a child. Within this right, parties agree, or the court decides, whether there’s going to be a geographic restriction or not. We know situations can and do change, so here’s what you need to know if you or the other parent want to relocate with your children.
Reasons to relocate – There are countless circumstances involved in relocation. The most common reasons we typically see for relocation are job offers, getting remarried, moving back home, or change in circumstance for a new spouse.
If there IS a geographic restriction – Your first step is to petition the court for the ability to be relocated. In order to do this, you would need to show the court why this relocation would be in the best interest of the child. There needs to be a material change in circumstance between the time of the original order and the modification request.
If there is NO geographic restriction – You have the right to relocate with your child under this agreement given that you have notified the other party. However, the other party also has the right to request modification to impose the geographical restriction or change custody all together.
Negotiations – There are a few things that can be negotiated to make relocation acceptable for the other party as well. It’s important to create as much time for the other parent as possible. This means looking at school and activity schedules for this new area to ensure the child can still spend time with the other parent. This could also include open lines of communication like FaceTime, Skype, and email. The other parent can still be involved without physically being in the area.
Another thing to consider in relocation negotiations is travel cost. The parent moving usually assumes more of the increased travel cost such as plane tickets, hotel costs, and gas. Child support can also be negotiated to reflect the change in circumstances. We, as lawyers, want to make the potential relocation benefit both parties in some way so a mutual agreement can be made.