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Custody matters and parental relocation

Where children reside is an issue that often doesn't remain at rest after a marriage ends. Life after divorce in New York can include unexpected changes, some including parental relocation.

Accepting a job or a marriage proposal across the country is a big decision. Whether you are a parent with visitation privileges or the primary custodian, you must consider how a move would affect your children and their relationship with you. That's what a court will do.

Courts take parental relationships with a child very seriously. Judges are less concerned about parents' reasons for relocation than they are about the benefits for children. For instance, a judge might question a parent about efforts to find a better economic opportunity here in New York.

Mothers and fathers' custody rights include the ability to dispute relocations that aren't part of a parental agreement. Moving out of the city or across the country creates new distance and new visitation schedules between the child and the other parent. Relocation also disrupts the stability a child has come to know: familiar friends, nearby family members, teachers, caregivers and extracurricular activities.

The focus of all child-related family law matters is the best interests of the child. The decision a judge makes depends heavily on how a move could improve rather than detract from a child's life. That decision includes examining the child's relationships, needs and wants and holding them up against plans to relocate.

Relocating a child without the other parent or a court's consent can trigger a custody dispute and even criminal charges or a civil lawsuit. Speak with a family law attorney at Philip A. Greenberg PC if you are considering relocation or want to object to the other's parent's plans to move. You may need to go to court to get a judge's permission or hash out related issues like child support, custody or paternity.

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