Divorced parents often put a lot of work into negotiating a child custody arrangement and parenting plan. Once they have a child custody order in place, they have a framework in which to manage issues like visitation, drop-offs and pickups, coordinating schedules and communication about education and health care, not to mention child support.
However, a lot can change after a child custody order is in place. From time to time, parents may need to renegotiate their plan and sometimes may need a new child custody order. Parental relocation is one type of life change that can require negotiation and talking with the court.
Both parents have rights and responsibilities with regard to their children. Even if the child lives with one parent all the time, the other parent almost certainly has visitation rights. Therefore, if the custodial parent decides to move with the child to a faraway city or another state, this relocation infringes on the other parent's visitation rights. Even a noncustodial parent may need clearance from the court before moving to another state, and will have to talk to the court about child support issues.
For parents who are sharing custody, relocation can mean a whole new round of negotiation and a new court order.
Relocation disputes are tough, but they can be resolved. Sometimes a move is best for the parents for career or personal reasons. Sometimes a move is in the best interest of the child.
An experienced family law attorney can help parents understand their rights and legal options for relocation and other child custody issues.