People move all the time. Sometimes people move to a new home just down the street, sometimes to a new city or state, some people even choose to walk the path of an expatriate in another country.
But if you have kids from a previous marriage that ended in divorce, it is usually not as simple as picking a new locale, packing up, and leaving. Depending on the terms of your divorce and parenting agreements, such as the other parent having shared custody or visitation rights, as well as the distance of the move, it could be illegal for your to try to relocate with your kids.
There are also other aspects of the move that you need to seriously consider before taking any action. Below we’ve detailed five considerations you should take before relocating with your kids.
Before you take any action, take time to sit down and analyze your own motivation to move. Is relocating really necessary? Did you receive a job offer in a new location or are you just itching for a change? You should question whether moving is really worth the complications as well as the possible negative impact on your kids. That’s not to say that moving may not be a necessity for your situation, but it is essential that you weigh the risks and ramifications of your move versus your reasons for doing it.
How far is your potential move going to take you and your kids? If the move is farther than 50 miles from your current address you may be required to change every aspect of the original parenting agreement from your divorce. Think about whether it is really necessary to move beyond 50 miles if you could move within that distance and still get the same benefits. For example, if you’re offered a new job that is located 100 miles away, could you move less than 50 and commute? Keep this important distance benchmark in mind before relocating.
3) Out of state
Is your potential move going to take you out of state? Not only do you have to consider the 50 mile barrier, but an out of state move will complicate things even further. Every state has their own laws about custody and divorce modifications, and you will have to account for the laws of two states instead of just one if you move to another state.
4) Children’s Needs
Ask yourself if this move will be the best thing for your children. Do you really want to take them so far away from the other parent, or from the familiarity and friends of their current home? Would it be better or safer for them to move away? Divorces already have major impacts on the mental health of kids, and a significant relocation could exacerbate the negative impact. Make sure you are putting their interests first in deciding to relocate.
5) Effect on custody
Think about the impact a relocation could have on your custody agreement. Are you risking losing custody rights by relocating? Are you prepared to be a full-time single parent if your relocation causes you to take on full custody instead of shared? As we previously mentioned, a relocation of over 50 miles will force you to make changes to your agreement, so make sure you are certain that those changes will be worth it.
If you have kids from a previously divorced marriage and you are thinking about relocating, or your ex-spouse is trying to relocate with the kids, the Quick Law Group can help. We are knowledgeable about the legal procedures it takes to relocate, and the ramifications a relocation could have on your custody agreement. Give us a call to discuss your situation