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Thoughts for Parents Involved in a Move-Away Child Custody Battle

Divorce is an unfortunate reality of society and initiating one is never an easy process. There is a significant amount of stress associated with dividing the assets between spouses. Furthermore, it is even more difficult when children are involved and more challenging still if one of the spouses is considering moving away with the children.

It is not unusual for parents to want to move in the interest of gaining a fresh start; however, it is important that everyone involved in a child custody battle involving a significant move understands that factors that the judge is going to consider when making a custody determination. Being prepared can aid parents in decision-making and in helping their children through this process. 

Why is the Parent Moving?

This is always going to be first question the judge is going to consider. Remember that it is not unusual for divorces to end on poor terms and some parents may try to spite the other parent by moving away and making it harder for the other parent to visit. This is not going to be a valid reason to move. Reasons that are more likely to be approved include being closer to family and the opportunity for a better paying job. The lifestyle of the children is going to be at the crux of the matter. Parents may need to tailor the reasons for the move around the best interests of the children.

Do the Parents Work to Facilitate the Visitation Policy?

Remember that children should generally have both parents involved in their lives. If the couple has a history of working hard to facilitate this important matter, the judge is more likely to approve the move. For example, do the parents communicate regularly with each other? Have the parents been flexible in adjusting visitation times to meet the scheduling issues of the other parent? Do the children have strong bonds with both of their parents? Have there been any custody problems in the past?

The judge is more likely to approve the move if the couple has a history of facilitating the visitation rights of the other parent. if the parents aren't on good terms, the judge may be less likely to approve the move.

What is the Process for Approval?

Every state has slightly different policies when it comes to approving a move-away custody case. Some courts will require an independent investigation that is conducted by a child psychologist or psychiatrist before approving the money. Other courts will require an oral testimony from each parent prior to making a decision. This can impact the timing of a move and can have significant impacts if there is a time-sensitive issue on the other side of the move, such as a new job or a sick relative. Do your best to understand the timeline of the child custody move away process prior to starting. An experienced family law attorney can help you achieve that important initial goal. 

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