When a divorce is final, the former spouses can move on with their lives. As they do so, new circumstances can present themselves that require the individual to move. This may happen because of a job opportunity or for family. However, when the individual is a parent, the situation can become more difficult to bring their child with them.
When a parent has to move, they usually want their child to relocate as well. There are some cases in which the other parent may oppose, requiring them to go through litigation to settle the matter. It is important to know that while a non-custodial parent does not have physical custody of their child, they have the right to fight for their child to not move.
Physical Custody vs Legal Custody
When child custody is determined, physical or legal custody will be established. These are types of custody that regard different aspects of a child’s life. Physical custody determines the child’s custodial parent. This means they will live with this parent the majority of the time, but also spend time in their other parent’s home.
Legal custody gives a parent the right to be involved in making important decisions throughout the child’s life. This can for matters such as medical treatment, education, religious practices, general upbringing, and even relocation. Even if a parent does not have physical custody, they should still fight for legal custody. This allows them to have a voice, especially in the event that the custodial parent wishes to move with their child.
Some cases of relocation can be settled between the parents themselves. Other times, parents may go through litigation to determine child relocation. When this happens, the moving parent must convince the court that relocating is in the child’s best interest. Alternatively, the opposing parent has the opportunity to express their disagreement. As child relocation is a sensitive matter, the judge considers several factors regarding the impact it will have on both the parent and the child before reaching a decision. A judge may consider how the move will impact:
- The relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child
- The child’s relationship with their extended family
- The child’s academic and social life
- The child’s quality of life
In addition to this, the court may also consider several factors related to the parents. This can include:
- The reason for relocating
- Why the non-custodial parent opposes the move
- How the move may impact the custodial parent’s quality of life
Contact our Firm
Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.