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Assets, income and property can be divided evenly between parties during divorce proceedings, but there are some extremely important things that can’t be easily split into two pieces. As the innocent victims of divorce, children can be severely impacted by the separation of their parents and the ensuing struggles for custodial or visitation rights. This is one of the reasons why New York state law prioritizes the interests and well-being of children in legal disputes regarding relocation of the parents.
Fighting for the Right to Move
Many divorce negotiations result in one parent as the primary custodian and the other with limited visitation rights, although the parties can independently negotiate any kind of custody deal that satisfies both sides. It’s common for parents to disagree on custody and visitation rights, which means official mediation or a court ruling is needed to come to a final resolution.
Unless the court order stipulates rules regarding relocation of the custodial parent, then that parent needs to get permission before moving to a new location with the child. This may apply even if the move is a relatively short distance away if it would affect the other parent’s visitation rights or the child’s daily life. Parents must have legitimate reason for seeking or disputing the relocation in order to have footing in the courtroom
Parents Seeking to Move out of State
A Yonkers relocation lawyer can protect your rights when you are looking to move on with your life. Relocating to take a new job or a pending remarriage are two major events that people usually look forward to. In the event that you are sharing custody of a child or children, however, relocating from New York may require consent of the other parent or an order of the court..
Modern society is highly mobile, so it’s common for custodial parents to seek relocation in order to begin a new life, seek employment or be closer to family. While these reasons are considered by the court during a relocation case, the moving parent must also show that the transition will be beneficial to the child compared to the current standard. These claims must be backed up with solid arguments, which is why it’s essential for parents to seek advice from a professional custody and relocation lawyer to build their case.
Relocation Guidelines Established In Child Custody Orders
Frequently, child custody orders and agreements have established guidelines in them for relocation. A family court judge can issue a court order, or the parents can arrive at an agreement that the custodial parent is required to remain within a limited geographical region with the child (e.g. Queens County or inside of New York City). In the event that your child custody order fails to address relocation, the custodial parent would have to ask the court for permission to relocate with the child or children. Even if there is a right to move established in the language of the existing agreement, it is a good idea to chisel out new parenting time plans with the non-custodial parent or to seek a court order to make certain that the move is approved by a judge.
The court will want to figure out if the relocation is in the best interest of the child. In coming to this ruling, the court will consider the following:
- Each parent’s reasons for desiring or disagreeing with the relocation;
- The impact that the relocation will have on the child’s future ability to continue a relationship with the non-custodial parent and any other children. Generally speaking, courts would rather keep siblings together, if possible;
- The quality of the child’s relationship with each of his or her indvidual parents;
- The degree to which the relocation has the potential to improve the quality of the child’s life, including emotionally, financially, and educationally; and
- The ability to continue to have a strong relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child through new visitation arrangements.
In any event, it would behoove a custodial parent to secure written confirmation from the non-custodial parent saying that the non-custodial parent does consent to the relocation, or to secure a Court Order permitting the relocation to happen.
Disputing the Relocation of a Custodial Spouse
Parents who have limited custody or visitation rights can dispute a relocation if the custodial parent intends to take the child with them. Non-custodial parents have several ways to argue the case for keeping the child where they are now, including the well-being of the child and violation of visitation rights. Requests to move will also be denied by the court if they believe the custodial spouse is moving purely out of spite or to prevent visitation from the other parent.
Relocations can disrupt relationships at school and other groups in which they have friends, which is a strong argument against moving to a new city or state. Expected changes in living standards, including safety and quality of life, are also a big factor. Non-custodial parents can also dispute the relocation if it impairs their ability to visit their kids, although this only holds up if they have been diligently exercising their rights and have made an effort to be a part of their child’s life.
Preparing for Relocation Cases
Talking to a professional divorce attorney is the most important thing a parent can do to prepare for any kind of custody proceedings. There is a lot of room for debate in relocation cases, which is why proficient legal representation is highly recommended both in and out of the courtroom. In the end, the best outcome is for both parents to find a way to address the needs of their children through a mutual and equitable agreement.