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What happens with child custody when a co-parent moves?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | Child Custody And Visitation |

Child custody issues that crop up unexpectedly can make a marital break-up intensely problematic for both parents – and the kids. If one parent decides to relocate, that can be a real stumbling block. 

What happens when a custodial or non-custodial parent moves away long-term or permanently because of their job, for instance? Does the custody arrangement have to be changed or re-negotiated? How will the child or children be affected?

Ideally, both parents live in close proximity to each other. Having a youngster travel from one household to another for visitation is therefore not generally a big deal. But when one parent pulls up stakes, it can throw a co-parenting plan into chaos, particularly if they want to move far away.

The “best interests of the child” are very important

In this kind of case, a court will carefully analyze what is known as the “best interests of the child,” which can include everything from the stability of the child’s current home life to each parent’s willingness and ability to work with the other. In general, the goal is always to ensure and protect a child’s mental and physical well-being and to preserve a continuing, nurturing relationship with both parents. 

A court will weigh a co-parent’s incentive for moving

Some reasons for a co-parent moving away are deemed more in “good faith” than others. Seeking a higher-paying, more secure employment or wanting to be nearer to relatives who can offer child care and support are usually considered valid reasons for a move. However, if the rationale for putting down roots elsewhere is mean-spirited or retaliatory, that would be frowned upon by the court.

These situations are complex and sometimes daunting

There is a lot to think about when a custodial or non-custodial parent wants to reside someplace else. Verify that you are on solid legal ground when either moving or if you object to your ex’s intention to move.