Relocating With the Children After Divorce

After a divorce, the parent with primary custody of the children may have a need to relocate to another area for work, family or other reasons. Whether a court will grant a custodial parent’s request to move depends on what is deemed to be in the children’s best interests.

One consideration for a court deciding on a move request is how relocating will affect a child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. If you’re a custodial parent and want to move, you should be prepared to show how you’d communicate with the other parent and foster their relationship with your child. In short, you must demonstrate how you plan to minimize the disruption to the parent-child relationship.

You should also be prepared to explain why the move is necessary and how it will benefit the child financially, educationally or otherwise. For example, if you’re moving for work-related purposes, show why you cannot continue the work in the current location or why a new job is beneficial for the child. Provide evidence if you’ll be receiving a raise, better benefits, or a more flexible work schedule. If you’re moving to ensure your children have access to a better school system, provide documentation comparing the two school systems, the child’s report cards, and other documents that show how the new location would be beneficial for the child’s education.

The court will also consider family relationships beyond the non-custodial parent. Mention if a move would put children into contact with more family members, giving them a bigger support system. If relocating would separate a child from other family members, you should be able to explain why the benefits of the move outweigh these reduced interactions.

While the court will consider multiple factors in determining what is in the best interest of the child, emphasis will be placed on how to minimize the disruption of the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. The New York courts encourage children to have a relationship with both parents, and as the custodial parent, you need to demonstrate how you will encourage the parent-child relationship even if the other parent isn’t in the same town. For example, highlight how you’ve considered both the quantity and quality of contact between the child and non-custodial parent. This is especially important if a move would reduce or alter current visitation arrangements.

Determining the best interests of a child, particularly when a move will greatly increase the distance between a child and parent, can be a complicated undertaking. By hiring an experienced child custody lawyer who knows the intricacies of New York’s custody laws, you can improve your chances of success.

At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., we can assist you with negotiating and amending child custody agreements. A family-focused, Christian law firm based in Rochester, New York, we’re committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. Call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.


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