When you get custody of your child after divorce, it doesn't mean that you are free to go with the child wherever you please. The restriction on travel is to allow the other parent to maintain contact with the child too. However, there are situations where the court may allow you to move with the child. Here are four things you may need to prove to make this happen:
The Move is Necessary
The court may allow the move if it's necessary but not if it is something you have elected to do. For example, a job transfer is a necessary move, especially if you may lose your position if you decline. After all, you need the salary to provide for your child, who is the concern of the court. However, requesting a transfer wouldn't qualify since it's something you can avoid (simply avoid making the request).
The Child Has a Weak Relationship with the Other Parent
The strength of the child's relationship with the other parent matters because relocating to a distant town would reduce the contact between the two. However, this may not matter much if the two do not have a strong relationship to begin with.
Argue that the relationship is weak by proving that
- The parent doesn't attend some visitations
- The child doesn't look forward to the parent's visit
- The two rarely go out together
- The parent isn't involved in the child's extracurricular activities
One of these may not be much of an issue, but the court may be convinced of your claim if the other parent's relationship with the child fits all these issues.
The Child Doesn't Have Strong Community Relationships
Courts are reluctant to uproot children from communities in which they have strong relationships. For example, your child has strong community relationships if he or she is a member of the local church choir, has integrated into the local school well,has cousins and grandparents living in the area. Contrast this with a child who is home schooled and doesn't have relatives in the area; the weak community relationships may allow the court to allow you take the child away.
The Child Wants To Move With You
The court may also consider the wishes of the child. The older the child is, the more weight the court will give his or her opinion. Very young kids may not have a say in the matter at all. However, an older child is assumed to know what is right for him or her, at least to a small extent. If the child has made it clear that he or she would like to move with you, the court will take that into consideration.
As usual, you have to prove all these things before the family court; they won't just take your word for it. Therefore, if you wish to relocate, your first move should be to consult a family law attorney to help you strengthen your case. Contact a firm like Thomas & Associates, PC for more information.