Relocating Minor Children
If you are seeking to relocate with your child(ren) to a residence that substantially changes the geographical ties between the child(ren) and the other party, there are several steps you must take.
First, you must provide the other party with written notice as soon as practicable of your intent to relocate, the location where you intend to reside, the reason for the relocation, and a proposed revised parenting time plan. If the other party is in agreement, you will need to prepare a stipulation and file it with the court for approval. If the other party does not agree, you will need to file a motion to relocate with the court.
Once you file a motion to relocate, the court will likely schedule a hearing on the motion. Oftentimes the parties are ordered to attend mediation prior to the hearing to try and reach an agreement on their own. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court will have to decide whether or not the relocation of the minor child(ren) is in the child(ren)'s best interests.
The court will look at several factors, including:
The reasons why the party wishes to relocate with the child(ren);
The reasons why the opposing party is objecting to the proposed relocation;
The history and quality of each party's relationship with the child(ren) since any previous parenting time order;
The educational opportunities for the child(ren) at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
Any advantages of the child(ren) remaining with the primary caregiver;
The anticipated impact of the move on the child(ren);
Whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable parenting time schedule if the change requested is permitted; and
Any other relevant factors bearing on the best interests of the child(ren).
Relocation cases are one of the most difficult types of cases to take to court. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine how to best proceed.