What to Know About Child Relocation in New York

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Child relocation is often an incredibly difficult matter. If you have gotten divorced and you share custody with your ex, you cannot leave the state with your child without permission. Read on to learn more about your options when it comes to relocating outside of New York.

Physical custody vs legal custody

When it comes to leaving the state, your options are dependent upon your custody arrangement.

Physical custody determines the child’s custodial parent. This means the child will live with this parent the majority of the time. In most cases, the child will spend time at the other parent’s house as well. 

Legal custody gives a parent the right to be involved in making important decisions throughout the child’s life. This can include matters such as medical treatment, education, religious practices, general upbringing, and even relocation. 

In some rare cases, a parent will be deemed unfit, and the fit parent will be awarded sole custody. If your ex does not have physical or legal custody, you can typically move your child out of state without permission. However, it is important to know that this is not a common occurrence, as New York courts believe children benefit from having a relationship with both parents and will not often award sole custody.

New York Relocation Cases

If you share custody with your ex, you will need his or her permission to relocate out of state with your child. If your ex does not give permission, you will have to get permission from the court. This can be a difficult process, as the moving parent must convince the court that relocating is in the child’s best interest. Additionally, the opposing parent will have the opportunity to express their disagreement.

When it comes to making a decision about a relocation case, a judge will typically consider the following:

  • 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
  • The reason for relocating
  • Why the non-custodial parent opposes the move
  • How the move may impact the custodial parent’s quality of life

If you have any questions or concerns, our firm is here to help. Reach out today to speak with an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.


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I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

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I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

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The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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