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Navigating a Move-Away Child Custody Request

When a divorce reaches a friendly resolution, many people believe that this final agreement will never change; however, like many legal documents, it is possible to amend this agreement. If the divorce process involves children, this isn’t that unusual. One of the common reasons that this agreement could be changed is the need for amendment as a result of a child custody move-away petition.

It is important for divorced parents to remember that a child custody agreement is legally binding. Any changes to this agreement, including a move, will need to be approved. A custodial parent who is filing a move-away petition should keep some important factors in mind. 

The Child’s Best Interests Should Come First

A parent who is applying for a move needs to remember that the judge is going to make whatever decision he or she believes is in the best interest of the child. Therefore, the parent needs to think carefully about the reasons behind the move.

Will this lead to a better life for the children on the other side? For example, moving for access to better schools is a common reason for filing a move-away petition. The opportunities for a higher paying job is also a common impetus for a move. Clearly, these are reasons that provide substantial benefit to the children. If the move will benefit the children, the judge is more likely to agree to the move-away petition.

The Distance of the Move Will Play a Role

Any parent filing a move-away request needs to keep in mind that the request is necessary because of the potentially adverse impacts it could have on the visitation rights of the other parent. With this in mind, a move across the town is going to have a better chance of being granted than a move across the country. Clearly, a parent can still spend significant time with their kids if they simply move across town; however, their rights will likely be hampered if their kids move across the country. Think about the distance of the move when filing the request.

Facilitating the Rights of the Other Parent is Key

Whenever a move-away request is filed, the judge is going to take a look at how the parents have collaborated since the divorce went final. If the parents have been friendly in facilitating each other’s parenting time, the judge is less likely to think that the move is simply out of spite. Therefore, try to have some plan in place on the other side of the move that shows the judge that the other parent will still have the opportunity to spend time with their children. This will increase the chances that the request is granted.

There are several different factors that will be considered with every move-away request. For this reason, parents should consider hiring an experienced attorney for assistance with this process.

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