Relocating With Children After Divorce
Adjusting to life after divorce can be challenging and stressful, especially if you are relocating and have children. Whether the move is to a new city or out of state, all of the following things need to be handled.
#1: Comply with all Agreements
If you have children, then moving out of the house will be more challenging because you will need to make sure the relocation adheres to the divorce and custody agreements. Don’t begin moving anywhere until you obtain all of the necessary approvals for the destination. If you move without first complying with the divorce and custody agreements, then you can face serious legal consequences.
#2: Modify the Existing Custody Order
There are a couple of ways that divorced parents can end up back in court to settle a relocation dispute. The parent who wants to move away can file for a modification of the existing custody order to request permission for the move and a new visitation plan, while the other parent has the option to file a petition to prevent the other parent from moving with the children. These issues will be settled during a relocation hearing if you and your ex cannot reach an agreement.
#3: Prepare for the Relocation Hearing
The primary question the court will try to answer is whether relocating is in the best interests of the children. This means you will need to show that moving will allow you as a parent to provide a better quality of life, a more stable environment, and a better experience for your children. You will need to collect evidence and information that will persuade the judge that your move will benefit the children. This includes evidence that you will be in a more stable financial situation or have a better support system once you relocate.
#4: Create a Clear Parenting Plan
Moving will impact your children's relationship with the other parent, which is why you need to craft a parenting plan that shows the court you’re committed to maintaining a close relationship between your children and the other parent. Your parenting plan should include specific time-frames for visits during school breaks in the summer and winter. Since ongoing communication is crucial for maintaining the parent-child relationship, you should also specify that you are willing to give the other parent access to the children via cell phone, Skype, texts, and emails, in addition to a reasonable number of visits.