Modifying custody orders for relocation purposes is possible

Everyone experiences a change in circumstances at some point in their lives. While people are good at adapting and doing what is necessary to keep moving forward, when children are involved, making the required changes can prove even more difficult. For divorced parents in New York and elsewhere, change often comes with the need to relocate. Whether you are a custodial parent, non-custodial parent or enjoy shared custody, if you need to relocate, you will first need to seek a child custody modification before making your move.

Custodial parent relocation

While there are custodial parents out there who feel that they do not need the other parent's approval before moving with their children, this is not the case. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the non-custodial parent regarding your change in circumstances and how it will affect visitation time, you can go to court to seek a custody order modification. Getting a modification approved is not necessarily an easy task, however.

The court must receive certain information before making a decision on the matter. This information includes the following:

  • Reason for the move
  • Distance of the move
  • Proposed visitation schedule

While the non-custodial parent may still object to you moving, if the court receives a detailed plan that it considers reasonable and suits the best interests of the children affected, the court may allow the move and grant the custody modification request.

Non-custodial parent relocation

While your time with your children may be limited, you, too, may still have to seek a court approved custody modification if you need to relocate. As the need to move will affect your ordered visitation schedule, the custodial parent has the right to object to any changes proposed to the custody agreement. Again, information about the move and a proposed visitation schedule will have to be submitted to the court before a decision can be made.

Joint custody parental relocation situation

In New York and elsewhere, more parents are being awarded joint custody in divorce cases. This can make the need for one parent to relocate a big problem. It may still be possible to keep a joint custody agreement by adjusting the details of a custody order. However, some may find it necessary to completely change the order, giving visitation rights to one parent and granting sole custody to the other.

There are a number of reasons as to why one might need to relocate, such as for work, family support or a new relationship. At the end of the day, you, as a parent, will have to do what is best for you and your children, and sometimes that means going to court in order to seek a child custody modification so that you can make your move. If you can provide sufficient evidence that the move and custody change will be of benefit to your children, the modification may be granted.

An experienced New York family law attorney can assist you in achieving custody arrangements that work with your change in circumstances.

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Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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