When Parental Relocation Affects Custody and Visitation Orders
In today's society, people are moving more frequently. After a divorce, single parents often want to move to be closer to family, to take a better job, or to simply start over in a different state. What happens though, when child relocation would affect the other parent's relationship with the child?
Under Connecticut law, a parent who wants to move must show that:
- Relocating with the child is for a legitimate purpose
- The proposed location is reasonable in light of such purpose
- The relocation is in the best interests of the child
If you are a parent who is moving out of state or relocating for a job to another city in Connecticut, Attorney Eisenberg can help you request a change of custody and visitation. If you are a parent who opposes child relocation by the other parent, we can represent your parental interests in family court.
The First Step: Does The Move Affect Custody or Visitation?
When a parent files a motion to modify a custody order because of parent and child relocation, the court will first determine whether the move would affect the existing parenting plan. Under current law, it does not matter where the child's primary residence is, or who has physical custody of the child.
The court will look at the impact on the actual parenting arrangements. If the mother lives in Hartford and the father lives in Washington State, the mother's move to New Haven is not going to affect the father's parenting or visitation rights. When both parents live in Middlesex County in Connecticut, relocating the child to New York City may seriously interfere with the other parent's rights.
The Second Step: Is Child Relocation in the Child's Best Interest?
In Connecticut, the parent seeking to move with the child has the burden of showing that the move is in the child's best interests. In deciding whether to allow the move, the court will look at several factors, including:
- Each parent's reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation;
- The quality of the relationships between the child and each parent
- The impact of the relocation on the quantity and the quality of the child's future contact with the non-relocating parent
- The degree to which the relocating parent's and the child's life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the relocation
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements
For more information about child relocation after a divorce, or for an assessment of your situation, contact the Law Offices of Deborah R. Eisenberg, LLC.