When the relationship between parents deteriorates and results in a child custody dispute, there are many reasons that the custodial parent may want to relocate. A parent might need to move-away for career advancement, family support, educational opportunities and other legitimate justifications. When a parent relocates, the move can adversely impact the custody time or visitation of the parent left behind.
Because of this potentially adverse impact on the relationship between the non-custodial parent and minor children, parents generally can either enter into an agreement permitting the relocation or petition the court to approve the parental move-away. Even if there are no custody orders in place, a party who relocates with the minor children without an agreement or court authorization might be ordered to return to the jurisdiction with his or her children. Because parental relocation cases have a fundamental impact on custody and visitation, these cases often are among the most contentious custody disputes. Gus Dimopoulos has developed a reputation among judges, peers and clients for innovative family law solutions and effective representation of his clients’ interests.
Standards for Evaluating New York Parental Relocation Cases
When a parent in a custody dispute seeks to move-away, the judge will evaluate the request by weighing the following considerations:
• The relationship of the children to each parent;
• Effect of the move on the quantity and quality of the children’s relationship to the non-custodial parent;
• The justification for the relocation;
• Non-custodial parent’s basis for opposing the move;
• The degree the child can maintain a meaningful relationship to the non-custodial parent;
• Impact on extended family relationships; and
• Enhancement of the lifestyle of the children and moving parent.
The judge essentially evaluates these factors in the context of determining whether the move is in the best interest of the children. Because these cases tend to be highly contested, you need to seek legal advice promptly if you are involved in a move-away case. When a parent does not file promptly after a parent moves, this inaction might be construed as consent to the move.