When a divorce happens, often a person is looking for a fresh start. For many, starting over may mean relocating to another city or even another state.
Relocating to a new area isn’t always viable if you plan to make that move with your kids. You’ll have to take certain steps to give your co-parent a head’s up as to your plans and successfully answer a judge’s questions about your intentions to relocate before putting your plans in motion.
How common are post-divorce relocations?
Relocations are quite popular among custodial parents. As many as 25% of parents who have sole custody of their children relocate to another area post-divorce.
Parents like these often relocate for better financial opportunities, including a lower cost of living, a new job or because family members live near their destination.
What do judges take into account when weighing whether to sign off on a relocation?
Courts always aim to do what’s in a child’s best interest. They may be hesitant to approve a relocation if there’s evidence that they have a close network of family members or friends in the area where they currently reside. How close their bond is with their parent who plans to remain in the area may also impact what a judge sees as being in a child’s best interest.
What steps must a parent take to notify their co-parent about relocation plans?
Most jurisdictions require custodial parents to provide their co-parent with written notice of their intention to relocate and to give them ample time to respond with any objections. They must also file a petition with the court asking to relocate out of the area.
There’s no guarantee that a judge will approve your request. They’ll want to know more about the benefits your child might derive by relocating and how you’ll ensure that your co-parent remains involved in their life. You may be in for a contentious battle if your ex objects to your relocation. You’ll want to craft a solid justification for the relocation.