A Parent’s Guide to Moving out of Connecticut: What You Need to Know When Relocating with a Child

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Moving with children, a guide for parents from the CT family law attorneys at Freed Marcroft LLCAre you a parent considering a move out of state with a child?  Relocating can be an exciting adventure, but when you have a child, additional factors must be considered.  From understanding Connecticut’s legal requirements, and, if you can move, to finding the right neighborhood and school, the process can be quite involved.  That’s why our relocation lawyers created this guide to help parents make informed decisions when contemplating moving from Connecticut with their child.  Below we cover what you need to know (or tell you what you need to consult with an experienced family law attorney to get answers specific to your situation).  We cover the legal aspects like custody arrangements and visitation rights, plus round out our discussion with information on researching new destinations and assessing the impact of the move on your child’s education and social life.  So, whether you’re thinking about a move across state lines or across the country, join us as we explore the essential steps and considerations for relocation.

Factors to Consider When Moving Out of Connecticut with a Child

Moving out of state with a child involves careful consideration of various factors.  It’s crucial to consider your child’s well-being, legal requirements, and the impact the move may have on their education and social life.

First, the custody arrangement and visitation rights are primary factors to consider.  If you’re moving out of state with a child, it’s essential to understand the laws regarding relocation and how they may affect your custody agreement.  Consult an experienced family law attorney to ensure you understand and comply with all legal requirements and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Another factor to consider is the emotional well-being of your child.  Moving can be a stressful experience for children, as they may have to leave behind friends, their other parent and other family members, familiar surroundings, and activities they enjoy.  It’s important to provide emotional support and help them adjust to the idea of moving.  Age-appropriate communication is key.  Work with a mental health professional to learn how to support your child best.  For example, many child therapists recommend parents take care of the legal requirements and know that a move is, in fact, happening before discussing it with their children.  They can also help you choose the timing of your move so as to best support your child.  For example, during the summer versus in the middle of the school year.

Finally, researching and choosing a new location for a potential move is another crucial step.  Consider factors such as family and community support for you and your child, the cost of living, job opportunities, and school quality.  Additionally, assess the safety and suitability of the neighborhood for your child.  It’s also a good idea to visit potential locations before deciding.

Read: Can I Relocate and Move My Kids After a Connecticut Divorce?

Legal Requirements for Moving Out of State with Your Child

Relocation is one of the thorniest custody issues in Connecticut.  The answer to the legal requirements is highly dependent on several factors specific to your case.  Here are some of the relevant factors that an experienced relocation lawyer will want to explore with you:

  • Are you planning a move during your divorce or original custody action?  (If so, the legal standard differs from post-judgment.)
  • If you are post-divorce or post-custody action, what do your underlying court orders say about relocation?
  • Do you have sole custody or joint custody?
  • Is your co-parent in agreement with your proposed move?
  • Where would you like to move, and why?
  • If your co-parent has joint custody or visitation, how will you facilitate your child’s relationship with them?

If you have one takeaway, it should be that you have to make sure that you meet the legal requirements specific to your case before you move.  Otherwise, you may well hurt your case, jeopardize your current custody, and be found in contempt of court.  Make sure you meet with a knowledgeable family law attorney before you move.

Read: When Should You Hire a Lawyer?

Finding a New School and Educational Resources

Finding a suitable school is paramount if you are moving out of state with a child.  Research the educational options available in your new location and consider the school’s academic reputation, extracurricular activities, and special programs.  Visit the schools in person if possible and speak with administrators and teachers to get a sense of the learning environment and curriculum.

In addition to finding a new school, ensuring your child has access to the necessary educational resources is crucial.  This may include tutoring services, online learning platforms, or specialized programs for children with unique learning needs.  Explore the resources available in your new community and ensure your child’s educational needs are met.

Read: How Do Connecticut Courts Decide Whether You Can Relocate After a Divorce?

Moving Out of State: Logistics and Tips for a Smooth Transition

Moving logistics can be overwhelming, but with careful planning and organization, you can make your child’s transition as smooth as possible.  Start by creating a moving timeline and checklist to keep track of essential tasks.  Notify your child’s school about the move and request any necessary records or documentation.

When packing, involve your child in the process to help them feel more involved and in control.  Packing their belongings first creates a comfortable and familiar space in their new room.  Additionally, consider hiring professional movers who specialize in family relocations to alleviate some of the stress and ensure the safe transport of your belongings.

During the move, prioritize your child’s comfort and well-being.  Maintain your routine as much as possible and provide reassurance and support.  Plan for breaks during long journeys and ensure your child can access familiar items such as toys, books, or electronics to keep them occupied.

Again, child therapists are great resources for setting you and your child up for success.

Read: Unlocking Your New Beginning: How Lawyers Can Provide the Key to a Fresh Start

Supporting Your Child’s Emotional Well-being During an Out-of-State Move

Moving can be emotionally challenging for children, and it’s important to provide support throughout the process.  Encourage your child to express their feelings and validate their emotions.  Assure them that it’s normal to feel a mix of excitement and sadness about the move.

Keep the lines of communication open and encourage your child to ask questions or share any concerns.  Provide information about their new home and community to help alleviate any anxieties.  Additionally, consider working with a child to learn (in age-appropriate ways!) to involve your child in discreet parts of the decision-making process.  For example, when exploring recreational activities in your new location.

Read: Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody: The Differences Explained

Building a Support Network in Your New Location

Moving to a new location is both exciting and a little scary.  Building a support network can help ease the transition for both you and your child.  Seek out local parent groups, community organizations, and school events to connect with other families in your new area.  These connections can provide valuable support, advice, and the opportunity for your child to make new friends.

Additionally, consider contacting your child’s new school for information on parent-teacher associations or school-sponsored events.  These can be great opportunities to meet other parents and establish connections within the school community.

Read: Divorce & Father’s Day: Being Kind to Kids, Dads, and Moms

Settling into Your New Home and Community

Once you’ve arrived at your new home, take the time to settle in and establish routines.  Explore the local area with your child, visit nearby parks or attractions, and familiarize yourselves with the neighborhood.  Encourage your child to get involved in extracurricular activities or join clubs that align with their interests.  This will help them make new friends and feel more connected to their new community.

If applicable, it’s also important to communicate with your child’s other parent.  Regular updates and shared information can help ensure a smooth co-parenting relationship and support your child’s well-being.

Read: Divorce, the Kids, & the House: What the Heck Is Birdnesting?

Next Steps

Moving out of state with a child requires careful consideration of various factors, including legal aspects and your child’s emotional well-being.  By understanding and following the legal requirements, researching and choosing a new location, and providing support throughout the process, you can make the relocation smoother for both you and your child.  Remember, each child and family is unique, so it’s important to tailor your approach to suit your specific circumstances.  With proper planning and support, you can navigate relocation challenges and create a positive experience for your child.  Make sure to add the right experienced family law attorney to your team.  Relocation can be an exciting opportunity for growth and new experiences, and with the proper support, you can make it a positive chapter in your child’s life.

If you’d like to discuss working together, please click here.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC