Divorce and moving are two of the most stressful life events people go through; unfortunately, they are not uncommon. In fact, many readers of this blog may be going through a divorce and a move in the same year.
As stressful as these situations already are, they can become even more so if you make a mistake with regard to relocating with your kids. Below are some mistakes you do not want to make if you have custody of your children and plan to move in the coming weeks or months.
- Don’t move without permission. In most cases, specific location restrictions will be noted in your parenting plan and you will need to secure a custody modification from the courts if you want to make any changes. Further, there are strict laws in place that prohibit parents from leaving the state and country with a child without the consent of the other parent. Even if you are the custodial parent, you should not move away without getting permission first.
- Don’t assume all reasons for relocation are equal. The courts will take your reasons for relocation into account when considering a motion to modify custody and whether a move is in the best interests of the child. Be prepared to defend your reasons for relocation, especially if they are personal versus professional.
- Don’t minimize the impact relocation has on your child. Your child may still be adjusting to a new custody arrangement; uprooting him to move to a completely new place is not something you should do lightly. When considering relocation, think carefully about how your child will be affected by the move and whether it is in his or her best interests.
- Don’t expect your ex to make all the adjustments. If you are the one relocating, be prepared to reassess visitation schedules. You may need to spend longer stretches of time without your child or pay travel expenses for your child to visit the other parent.
It is also important that you understand your right to have legal representation as you navigate the legal system. Situations involving child custody modifications and relocation can be particularly complicated, and legal counsel can help you avoid these and other costly mistakes.