woman holding child's hands

Relocation Requests and Child Custody Agreements

By Michael DiFalco

Child-related matters are sensitive — the decisions that are made concerning children can change their lives. For this reason, the court does not take relocation requests lightly. 

Moving with your child after a divorce requires court involvement, especially when there is an existing child custody agreement and whenever the other parent is actively seeing the child. If you’re interested in moving, it’s best to have the assistance of a knowledgeable child custody lawyer

What is considered to be a “relocation?”

There is no specific distance that formally defines a relocation. Instead, the standard is whether the move would affect custody and visitation and the non-custody parent’s access to their child. 

If you have an established custody agreement, it’s possible it includes location information. For example, your agreement may state that parents must live within 25 miles of each other. Therefore, if your agreement includes this information, a relocation is clearly defined. 

Is it possible to relocate with children after a divorce?

Life changes after a divorce. Therefore, at some point or another, you may find yourself needing to move with your children. But is it possible to move your kids? It depends.

Some child custody agreements touch on relocation. If your agreement addresses the relocation of a parent, that is a good place to start. Otherwise, you’ll need to involve the court.

Moving with children is not impossible, but does require some critical steps, and it is often up to the court. Simply taking the children is never an option, as the relocating parent could face legal trouble.

Relocation Requests and Court Involvement

If your custody agreement addresses relocation, it’s still recommended that you discuss the matter with your child’s other parent and make a new arrangement for time sharing. Additionally, you should seek a court order to solidify the change and new plans.

Should the custody agreement not discuss relocation, the parent who wishes to relocate must request permission from the court. The court can schedule a relocation hearing, where parents will have the opportunity to go before the judge so the judge can make a decision regarding the move.

Filing a Relocation Case

In order to initiate a relocation case, the petitioning parent must file a petition in the county where the child has lived for at least six months. The petition must contain certain information, including where the relocating parent wishes to move and how the move would benefit the child. 

Once the petition is filed, the court provides a summons and court date. The petitioning parent or their attorney must serve copies of court documents to the other parent notifying them of the case and court date.

What does the court consider when deciding on relocation?

During a relocation hearing, the judge must consider the situation and do what is in the child’s best interests. This involves reviewing the following factors:

  • The reason for seeking the relocation
  • The other parent’s reason for opposing the relocation
  • The relationship the child has with each parent
  • The impact the move would have on the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent
  • How the move will affect the child’s life, for better or for worse
  • The ability to continue to maintain a parenting time schedule after a relocation

A move can change a child’s life in several ways. For this reason, judges take the decision to allow a relocation seriously. 

Discuss Moving After Divorce with an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer

Relocating is stressful enough as it is, but more so when it involves child custody. Therefore, if you’re interested in moving after divorce and taking your child, you should discuss your situation with a qualified New York child custody lawyer.

The attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco have years of experience dealing with even the most complicated child custody matters. We strive to do what is best for you and your children. Contact our Garden City, NY, firm today to schedule a consultation, and let’s discuss how we can help you. 

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.