One of the most challenging issues during or after a divorce arises when one parent wants to relocate with the children. They might have good reasons for wanting a fresh start somewhere else, but the parent staying put might worry about maintaining a close relationship with their children. Parents dealing with this situation should consult a family law attorney for advice. A divorce court must approve any relocation—and will only do so if moving is in the children’s best interests.
A Connecticut relocation lawyer can explain the factors the divorce court will likely consider when deciding whether a parent may move with the children, and help you craft a persuasive argument.
Enforcing Parenting Plans During Relocation
Parents who divorce or separate must submit to the divorce court a parenting plan that details issues such as where the children will live, how much time they’ll spend with each parent, and how the parents will handle decision-making. When the court finalizes the divorce, it makes the parenting plan an official court order.
Divorce courts expect parents to follow the parenting plan and will only allow a modification if the parent can prove it’s in the children’s best interests. Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-56d requires the relocating parent to prove:
- They have a legitimate reason to seek relocation
- The new location is reasonable, given the reasons they want to move
- Relocation serves their children’s best interests
The divorce court will consider these factors and the effect on the children’s relationship with the parent who stays behind. If possible, the court will expect a parent to relocate and continue the existing parenting plan. For example, if you want to take a better job 80 miles away, you don’t necessarily have to move the children that far away; you might move somewhere in between and accept a longer commute to maintain the current parenting plan.
Examining Each Parent’s Motivations
The divorce court strongly disapproves of parents who use access to children to hurt the other parent. For example, when a parent petitions the court to relocate, the judge will scrutinize their reasons for wanting to move. If the judge declares they have a good reason to move, they will look at the other parent’s reasons for opposing it. The judge will also evaluate the move from the child’s perspective.
Should relocation make it unreasonably difficult for the children to have a meaningful relationship with the remaining parent, the divorce court might deny the request. However, if the court determines the children will clearly benefit from the move, it might expect the parent who stays put to adapt. For example, that parent might have regular contact with the children by phone or video call, and they might have the children overnight less often but for longer periods.
Divorce courts will examine each parent’s ability and willingness to adjust for the children’s sake. A Connecticut relocation attorney can help you present your arguments for or against this change in the most compelling manner, emphasizing the children’s welfare.
Seek Legal Counsel From a Connecticut Relocation Attorney
When you or your co-parent wants to relocate with your children, get in touch with Freed Marcroft. It’s not a cut-and-dried legal issue, and judges have much discretion. A Connecticut relocation lawyer can help you make your case for or against relocation, so schedule a consultation with us today.