Whether you are the custodial parent to your children or were awarded visitation rights by the court, the relocation of either parent can cause stress for everyone involved. But sometimes, employment or other situations require you to make a considerable move to another state or county. If this is the case, you and your ex-spouse will have to reach some form of agreement.
If you and your ex-spouse are unable to reach such an agreement, a motion to modify custody will have to be filed with the court. If you are in this position – no matter which side you are on – it may benefit you to consult a family law attorney who has handled similar cases.
Family lawyers Julie Johnson and Robin Rubrecht Zegen have handled numerous child custody modifications and are prepared to answer questions about your case. Our legal team can help you determine if your request for relocation will be granted by the court based on your child custody ruling. Call our firm today at 214-265-7630 to schedule a confidential initial consultation.
How the Court Determines if an Order Can – and Should – Be Modified
A motion to modify can be filed only if there has been a “material and substantial change in circumstances” since the filing of the last custody order. In most cases, the move alone will meet that burden.
In making the determination to modify, the court will consider the following factors:
- the distance;
- the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child;
- the nature and frequency of the child’s contact with the noncustodial parent;
- the impact of the move on the frequency and quality of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent;
- the motive for the relocation;
- the motive for opposing the relocation;
- the possibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child through
- suitable visitation arrangements; and
- the proximity, availability, and safety of travel arrangements.
Our legal team can review each of these factors with you and how they may apply to your case.
The Best Interests of Your Child: How the Court Will Weigh its Decision
Once the court has determined that your case passes the “material and substantial” change litmus test, it will consider a modification of child custody. The court must then determine what is in the best interest of your child.
Some of the factors the court will consider include:
- the degree to which the custodial parent and your child’s lives may be enhanced economically, emotionally, and educationally by the move;
- a comparison of the quality of lifestyle;
- the negative impact of any continued hostility between you and the other parent;
- the effect of the move on extended family relationships; and
- your child’s age, community ties, health and educational needs, and preferences.
The court will then make a determination regarding custody, any geographic limitation on your child’s residence, and visitation.
We Want to Help You Stay an Active Part in Your Child’s Life
If you have concerns about what modification and relocation will mean for you, we invite you to call us at 214-265-7630 or complete our online contact form.