Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

What are parental relocation laws?

Parental relocation can be a significant child custody concern and many parents may have questions about it. Parents may wonder in what circumstances parental relocation that impacts custody will be allowed. Without an agreement, a custodial parent's desire to relocate with the child can be a significant concern if the non-custodial parent opposes the relocation. If the parents are unable to agree on the request to relocate with the child, the family law court will determine if the relocation is in the best interests of the child.

The family law court always seeks to determine what is in the best interests of the child including when evaluating child custody, visitation and relocation. There are a variety of considerations that may be taken into account based on a request for a parent to relocate with a child. In some circumstances, express consent will be provided for the relocation and may be a part of the original child custody agreement. Alternately, the court may consider the distance of the proposed move and its impact on the best interests of the child; out-of-state moves may be regarded with scrutiny and the custodial parent may be required to remain in the state if the out-of-state move is determined to not be in the best interests of the child.

The court may require that the parent requesting the relocation demonstrate a good faith reason for the move. It may be especially important to demonstrate a good faith reason for the move if the proposed move will disrupt the child's school and their social and emotional stability. Good faith reasons for the move may include a better cost of living; moving close to family to receive help with child care responsibilities; a new job offer; or for the parent to continue their education.

A proposed visitation schedule that takes into account the relocation must be presented and approved. Parental relocation is a significant change that must be carefully considered by parents and the family law court based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Source:, "Child Custody Relocation Laws," Accessed Sept. 26, 2017

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