Divorced parents are tasked with coparenting their child in a way that works for both parties. When one parent decides to relocate, there are certain steps they need to take in order to remain communicative and avoid violating their court order. There are three big mistakes to avoid when considering relocating with children.
Not Notifying the Courts
When one parent decides to move with their child, they are required to notify the court. Some parents assume that because they have primary custody in a joint custody arrangement that they are free to make this big decision on their own. However, the courts and the other parent have a right to know the whereabouts of the child and how the move will impact the custody-sharing parent. The custody order is in place to create balance for the child and provide an agreed-upon schedule of visitation. Any move has the potential to disrupt these, which is why the courts need to know before a move.
Not Considering the Relocation Petition Carefully
Parents with primary custody often assume that if they move their child will come with them. However, some judges may decide that the move is too drastic or not in the best interests of the child. In this case, a judge may modify the child custody order so that the other parent becomes the primary custodial parent. Aside from this scenario, there is also the possibility that the primary custodial parent will notify the courts of move with a relocation petition and the request will be denied. In this case, the parent must decide if they want to move without their child and forfeit primary custody of the child.
Not Modifying the Child Custody Order
Another big mistake parents make when relocating with children is not modifying the child custody order. Some parents may confuse the judge approving a relocation petition with being legally free from the child custody order. The child custody order is in legal effect unless modified and the judge (and the other parent) expect it to be upheld. If you move 200 miles away with your child, it is still your responsibility to make sure they get their scheduled visits with the other parent. This is why it is crucial to have the child custody order modified as part of relocating. There is also the possibility that the other parent will notify the courts after a move with the child, which will not reflect well on you and may impact your visitation rights.
When considering a move with your child, you are required to take certain steps. The process may seem confusing and intimidating, but if you are moving for a legitimate reason such as a new job, there is no way around it. The best bet in making this process easier to navigate is talking about the move with a child custody lawyer. A child custody lawyer will be able to guide you through the process the right way, so you can avoid these problem-causing mistakes.