When a couple divorces or separates, a court will typically order the child to live with one parent – the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent is then assigned a visitation schedule with the children. When one parent decides to relocate, there are many legal details that must be addressed first. This can not only involve amendments to an existing custody agreement, but the relocation itself may need to be approved. If the noncustodial parent is strongly opposed to the relocation, it may take a compelling argument to convince the court that the move is what is best for the child.
Whether you are fighting for or against the move, a Manhattan relocation lawyer can help you identify what steps you need to take. The court’s primary concern will be how the move will affect your child. An experienced attorney can help you identify the best way to frame your argument with the court to get your desired outcome.
Reasons For Relocating
Before the court can make a decision regarding whether or not relocation is in the best interest of the child, a number of factors will be taken into account. These factors include:
- The reason that the custodial parent wishes to relocate.
- The reason that the noncustodial parent is opposed to the proposed relocation.
- Enrichment and educational opportunities for the child at the current and proposed locations.
- The history and quality of relationship each parent has with their child.
- Current child custody and visitation orders and how well each parent has complied to the order.
- Any advantages of the current custody and visitation arrangements.
- The family support system available at both the existing and proposed locations.
- The impact, positive or negative, that the move may have on the child.
- Whether or not the court is able to establish a schedule that includes reasonable parenting time for both parents if the relocation is granted.
- If the relocation requires one parent to travel in order to spend time with the child, lodging and travel expense are also taken into account.
Arguing Your Case
As the parent seeking relocation, you will need a solid plan. First, you’ll need to be able to prove to the court that you have a good reason for relocating. Acceptable reasons typically include things like work or remarriage. You will also have to prove that the move will benefit your children financially, emotionally and educationally. It may be advantageous to argue that the relocation would afford your children a better standard of living or give them access to better schools or educational programs that are not offered where you currently live. Next, you will need to be able to show the court how you intend to maintain the relationship your child currently has with the other parent.
If you are the parent that is contesting the relocation, it is advised that you take the opposite approach. The center of your argument should be that the move is unnecessary and that moving the children from their current environment would have a negative impact on their life and the relationship you’ve established with them. If the other parent says they are moving for a better job opportunity, you could argue that there are plenty of comparable jobs where they currently live. Similarly, if the other parent argues that they want to move to remarry, you could propose that the new spouse could be the one to move rather than moving the children further away from their friends and family.
No matter which side of the relocation issue you are on, you will also need to show that you have been an active part of your child’s life up to this point. This means taking full advantage of your visitation rights and paying child support as ordered. Also, if the court decides that it is in the child’s best interest for them to remain in New York, you should be prepared to accept full custody if the other parent insists on moving away.
How a Manhattan Relocation Lawyer Can Help
While relocation cases can be difficult, the goal is to find a way for both parties to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children. This means deciding which location is in their best interest. The Spodek Law Group has the knowledge and experience it takes to help successfully work toward a favorable resolution of your case.