Steps to Take if You Are Relocating
Planning a move may be complicated, but planning to move with children after a divorce can get even more complicated. If your ex has visitation rights, you may be required to show the court why your planned move promotes your child’s best interests.
Talk to the other parent about the move, if possible
The first step in seeking permission to move with children after a divorce is discussing the move with the other parent. Ideally, the other parent can see how the child stands to benefit from the move and will agree not to mount an objection.
If your ex agrees, be sure to get the agreement in writing and have it signed before a notary ― with specific language that the agreement was made voluntarily and with knowledge of all relevant facts and circumstances.
Consider the best interests of the children
If your ex doesn’t agree to let you move with the children, seek court permission prior to moving. According to the prevailing standard set forth in the New York case Tropea v. Tropea, courts must decide if the proposed move serves the children’s best interests, because they are “the innocent victims of their parents’ decision to divorce and are least equipped to handle the stresses of the changing family’s situation.”
Factors courts consider in deciding whether a proposed move is likely to serve the children’s best interests include:
- The parent’s reasons for wanting to move and the other parent’s reasons for objecting
- If the noncustodial parent wants to secure custody and, if so, if it is feasible and desirable to change custody
- The children’s ties to the custodial parent versus the noncustodial parent
- If it is feasible for the noncustodial parent to move as well
- If the move has been proposed in good faith, or if an objection is made in good faith
- The feasibility of alternative visitation arrangements with the noncustodial parent
- The benefits, if any, to the children if the move is permitted
- If the move may impact extended family relationships
- Any other facts or circumstances that have a bearing on the best interests of the children