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Can I relocate with my child?

Many things can change in a person's life after a divorce. Some people want to move to a new town after a divorce. Others are offered new opportunities in a different state. However, if the divorced couple had children, the parents' abilities to move come with some limits.

If you have primary custody and wish to take your child with you when you move, this could interfere with the other parent's rights to visitation and other parental privileges. If you and your ex-spouse have an agreement that addresses the issue, then you will be beholden to that agreement. Even if there is no agreement about relocation, the noncustodial parent may have the right to challenge the move in court.

Courts look at a lot of factors in order to make a relocation child custody determination. It is important to remember that a court will always act in the best interests of the child.

One factor that a court may consider is the distance of the move. Sometimes, if the move is not too far away, a court will allow it, as it may deem that the travel time between parents is minimal. If, on the other hand, the move takes the child far away from his or her noncustodial parent, and perhaps out of the state, the court may need more convincing before allowing it.

When the court needs to address additional factors, it may turn to the reasons for the move. If you are moving to take a better job, to care for an ailing loved one, or to obtain an education, then a court might be more likely to approve of the relocation, as these reasons could lead to a better life for the child. If you decide to move simply for a change of scene, then the court will likely frown upon you and deny your request.

Relocating with your child can wreak havoc on your child custody arrangement, but it could truly benefit you and your child. Confronting your child's other parent, though, could give rise to heated emotions and staunch opposition. If this happens, then it may be time for you to consider seeking help from an experienced family law attorney.

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