Are you thinking about relocating after your divorce?

That can get tricky if you and your ex-spouse have a minor child together. Before you make plans, you need to understand what the court expects when you want to move with your child in tow.

1. Make sure your reason for moving is worthwhile.

The courts don’t like to put distance between parents and their children, so you can’t move your child away from your ex without a good reason. Acceptable reasons could include:

  • A better-paying job
  • Affordable housing
  • Educational opportunities
  • The ability to be closer to your extended family that can help you with childcare

While you may be thinking about how the move will help you, the court wants to know how it will help your child. Keep in mind that your child benefits indirectly when you advance in life. Be sure to make that point when you approach the court about the potential move.

2. Make sure you notify the other parent early and have a plan.

You’ll make more headway with the court if you play fair with your ex-spouse. Notify him or her as soon as possible about your intentions, but have a plan ready when you do it.

Be willing to explain to your ex and to the court how you expect to facilitate visitation between your child and your ex-spouse despite the distance.

Are you willing to compromise? Will you consider letting your child go for a longer period, in the summer perhaps, to make up for the shorter visits he or she won’t have with the other parent once the move takes place? Are you open to electronic visits, through Skype or on the phone? The more willing you are to help your ex-spouse keep a good relationship with your child going after the divorce and the move, the better it will look to the court.

The court may consider a few other things, like your child’s preferences. This is particularly true when an older child is involved. If you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises, make sure you have your child’s support for the move as well.

Source: Verywell, “Child Custody Relocation Rules,” Debrina Washington, April 07, 2018

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