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How is parental relocation handled under New York law?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2023 | Family Law

There’s a lot at stake in a custody dispute. While you and your child’s other parent might attack each other over what you each think is best for your kid, your relationship with you child might be thrown into jeopardy, too. The amount of time that you get to spend with them might also be at risk.

The court will issue a custody ruling that it thinks is in the child’s best interests if you and the other parent can’t come to a custody agreement, but the matter might not be fully resolved at that time.

This is because life changes. And as circumstances change, you should reconsider your child custody agreement to see if it still protects your child’s best interests. One commonly seen issue that arises after the issuance of an initial custody order is parental relocation.

How does New York law address parental relocation?

A custodial parent can’t simply move away with the child, as that deprives the non-custodial parent of their right to visitation and other forms of contact with the child, thereby negatively impacting their relationship with their kid. This can also be harmful to the child.

So, in most instances, a request will have to be filed with the court asking for permission to relocate with the child. When considering whether to grant the request, the court will consider a variety of factors, including each of the following:

  • The reason why the custodial parent seeks relocation with the child
  • The non-custodial parent’s justifications for challenging the relocation
  • The relationship the child has with each parent
  • How the move will impact the child’s contact with the non-custodial parent
  • How the move will impact the child’s relationship with any siblings
  • The positive impact that the move will have on the child’s life, such as providing the child with additional financial resources or educational opportunities
  • The custodial parent’s ability to ensure that the child maintains a relationship with the non-custodial parent despite the relocation

In essence, then, the court is going to be looking to see if the proposed move is in the child’s best interests. So, keep that in mind as you figure out how to argue your parental relocation case.

When will the court deny a relocation request or an objection to relocation?

There are no hard and fast rules here. However, there are some situations that are more likely to lead to a denied request. This includes requesting or objecting to a move simply out of spite.

A relocation may also be denied if there’s no plan in place to ensure that the child maintains contact with the non-custodial parent. In most instances, though, the court is going to take a holistic look at the circumstances to determine what’s best for your child.

Craft the legal arguments that you need to protect your child’s best interests

Given the breadth of the best interest determination, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of your relationship with your child and your child’s other parent. As a result, you might find that you’re tangled up in the emotional aspects of your case, thereby causing you to lose focus of the legal arguments that you should be making.

This is understandable. After all, you’re going through a lot. That’s why a lot of New Yorkers who are in your position turn to competent family law professionals for help.