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When can a custodial parent relocate under New York Law?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Child Custody |

It can take a lot of time, energy, and stress to resolve a pending custody issue. Once the matter is resolved, you might feel as if a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. However, you might find that relief to be short-lived, as custody issues can quickly arise, spurring ongoing conflict and concern over your child’s best interests.

Although custody disagreements can come up in many contexts, one often seen issue is custodial parent relocation. This is understandable. After all, people regularly move for to better their education or their career, or simply to be closer to family. But before a custodial parent moves a significant distance with their child, they must obtain court approval. Let’s take a closer look at what that process entails.

When is relocation permitted?

Under New York law, custodial parent relocation will be allowed if it’s deemed to be in the child’s best interests. Therefore, when considering this matter, the court will assess a number of factors. Amongst them are each of the following:

  • The purpose of relocation
  • The justifications for the non-custodial parent’s objection to the relocation
  • The impact relocation will have on the child and the custodial parent’s quality of life
  • The bond and relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent
  • How visitation with the non-custodial parent will be maintained post-relocation
  • The ramifications relocation will have on the child’s relationships with other family members
  • The effect that relocation will have on the child’s schooling
  • The impact of relocation on the child’s social life

As you can see, this is a pretty through analysis that will be conducted. Therefore, regardless of which side of the dispute you’re on, you’ll want to make sure that you have evidence to support your position.

Keep in mind, too, that evidence showing that the proposed move is sought out of anger against the other parent is likely to result the court ordering that the child does not relocate. In order for the court to grant a relocation request, the move and the purpose behind it need to have a legitimate purpose that seeks betterment for the custodial parent and, more importantly, the child.

Preparing for your relocation hearing

If a proposed relocation is opposed, then the court is going to schedule the matter for a hearing. As you prepare for this hearing, you’ll want to make sure that you gather evidence that addresses the best interest factors mentioned above. Your own testimony is going to be helpful, but also consider looping in family members, friends, school personnel, and even a mental health professional. These individuals might be able to pain the holistic picture that you need the judge to see in order to adequately present your arguments.

After evidence is concluded, the court will issue its ruling. If the request to relocate is denied, then a decision is going to have to be made as to whether a modification of custody is necessary to allow the relocating parent to move without the child. This is going to be very fact dependent and should therefore be thoroughly discussed with your attorney.

Don’t get tripped up by a proposed relocation request

Relocation can have a tremendous impact on your child and everyone involved in their life. So, it’s a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be made lightly.

That’s why the court system is so heavily involved here and why you might want to consider having a legal advocate on your side to help ensure that your voice is heard on these matters. Hopefully then you can better ensure that an outcome that protects your child’s best interests is reached.