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Understanding how child custody impacts out-of-state moves

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December 17, 2019 By Leavitt Law Firm

Divorce means much more than just dividing up assets and debts. If you have children, divorce impacts your (and your ex-spouse’s) ability to move out of state with the children during and after the divorce.  

The attorneys at Leavitt Law Firm are well-versed and experienced in helping parents fight for (or against) relocating children out of state. Attorney Frank Leavitt said there are a lot of obstacles to overcome for a parent attempting to relocate out of state with children.

“For a parent to relocate out of state with children, they need written permission from the other parent or permission from the court,” he said. “The initial steps depend on whether the parents share joint physical custody, or whether one parent has primary physical custody.”

If a parent has primary physical custody already, the process is less difficult. If a parent has joint physical custody with the other parent, they must petition the Court for primary physical custody for the purpose of relocating, which involves additional steps and is typically more difficult.

In either case, the judge will take several things into consideration. These include having a sensible, good-faith reason for the move, such as a job promotion or moving closer to a family support network. Still, the best interests of the child(ren) is the biggest focus, as it is in any custody proceeding. Additionally, the relocating parent must prove that there is an “actual advantage” to the child (and the parent) in the new state. This could include: better schools, a parent getting a promotion, a parent earning more money, a bigger home, family support, etc.

“If the relocating parent satisfies the requirements above, the judge will then consider several additional factors, including whether the move is intended to frustrate the visitation rights of the other parent,” Leavitt said. "This includes whether or not the relocating parent will respect visitation orders, whether it is realistic for other parent to visit their child, and whether the non-relocating parent and the child will be able to maintain a relationship.”
 


Whether you are the parent seeking to relocate or the parent fighting a relocation request, parents need to come to court prepared to make their case one way or the other.

“A parent seeking to relocate should be prepared to prove their “sensible, good faith reasons” for the move and the “actual advantages” the move provides to the child and the parent,” Leavitt said. This can include: a job offer, a raise, evidence of a better school system, and anything that would show that you having primary physical custody in another state is in the child’s best interest.

Hiring an attorney to help during this complicated process can maximize your likelihood of winning in court.

“Regardless of whether you are relocating or fighting a relocation, we are here to help,” Leavitt said. “If you are relocating, you have a lot to prove to the court, especially if you and the other parent enjoy joint physical custody. We will evaluate your likelihood of success for you before you retain us. Then, we will help you build your case to give you the best possible chance of winning in court.”

“If you are a parent fighting a relocation request, we will help you determine how to fight it. That includes considering the best interest of your child(ren) as well as the relocating parent’s likelihood of winning in court,” he added. “We will use our experience and knowledge of family law and prior relocation cases to help fight the relocating parent’s motion to relocate.”
 


This article was presented and sponsored by the Leavitt Law Firm. For more information visit their website or call (702) 996-6052.

 


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