After a couple obtains a
divorce, circumstances will inevitably change, and the New York courts that deal
with child custody issues are well aware of this fact. Sometimes, the
custodial parent (the parent who has the children more of the time and receives
child support) will want to relocate or move away with the children to a different county
or even to a different state.
If the court believes that allowing such a move would be in the children’s
best interests, the court may permit the move, even if it places a much
greater distance between the children and the non-custodial parent. However,
before a custodial parent relocates with the children, in most cases,
he or she must first petition the court for permission.
If the parent has sole legal and physical custody, he or she may not need
the court’s approval. Since the laws can be vague, it’s important
to consult with an attorney before relocating with one’s children.
Understandably, a relocation application can impact the frequency of contact
between children and their non-custodial parent. The court evaluates relocation
cases very carefully before rendering a decision. Each case must be determined
on its own merits and there are many factors, which a court will consider
to determine the outcome.
Here are just some of the major factors that a judge will consider when
deciding a relocation petition:
- The reasons for the move.
- The good faith of requesting or opposing the move.
- The child’s relationship with each parent respectively.
- The quality of the lifestyle the child would have if move permitted, or denied.
- The child’s ties to school, extended family, friends, and the community.
- The advantages of permitting such a move.
- The actual child custody and visitation arrangement, not necessarily what
is outlined in the child custody and visitation schedule.
- The economic advantages of permitting the move.
- The educational advantages of permitting the move.
- The effect the move may have on extended family relationships.
- What the child desires to do (based on maturity).
What Are the Possible Outcomes?
Relocation cases may have different outcomes; for example, the judge may
decide that permitting the move would not be in the children’s best
interests. In that case, a change in
custody may be in order. This usually happens when the children have a strong
bond with the non-custodial parent and he or she can provide a loving
and stable environment for their children. If the children are older and
do not wish to move, there is a greater chance of a change in custody;
however, this is not guaranteed.
In some cases, the move is approved by the court, especially when the children
have been out of contact with the non-custodial parent, or when the move
will significantly benefit the children educationally and economically.
Often, relocation applications are approved when a custodial parent is
remarrying and improving his or her circumstances significantly.
Other times, a parallel move is in order. In these situations, the non-custodial
parent decides to move too. This will typically occur when the non-custodial
parent is close to the children and can easily find employment in the
To speak with a Buffalo divorce lawyer regarding a child custody matter, contact The Rossi Law Firm
to schedule a consultation.