Bruce C. Zivley, Attorney at Law

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Relocation issues that may affect child custody and visitation

When parents decide that it would be best for their family if they parented in different households, the logistics of this decision can get messy. First, parents will need decide on child custody matters collaboratively and have a judge agree that their decisions are in the best interests of the children involved. If parents cannot agree on child custody and visitation matters, a judge will need to make these decisions based on what he or she perceives to be in the children’s best interests.

Second, parents will often be required to draft a parenting plan, if they will be co-parenting in any way. A parenting plan may address different issues regarding how a child will be raised. For example, many parenting plans focus on issues such as whether the child will attend religious services and how many extracurricular activities the child should be enrolled in at any given time.

These are the major issues that must be addressed immediately when parents wish to co-parent from separate households. However, these arrangements are not set in stone. If a major life event occurs, such as one parent relocating to another school district, city or state, it may be in the child’s best interest to modify, challenge or otherwise alter child custody, visitation and/or parenting plan agreements.

These issues may be worked out in a collaborative setting or they may be contested in court. The specifics of your family’s unique circumstances will likely guide how relocation issues should be resolved. If you have questions about how your relocation or your co-parent’s relocation may affect your child custody, visitation and parenting plan arrangements, please contact an experienced family law attorney who can help address your concerns.

Source: The Huffington Post, “6 Things to Expect and Consider When Relocating with Children After Divorce,” Andrea Moore, Dec. 18, 2013

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