Warkentine Law Office Family Law & Estate Planning Services

Can my ex relocate with my children?

relocation is an issue that may affect your previous divorce agreement.

After a divorce, individuals may move for a variety of reasons—including seeking new career opportunities, marrying another spouse or just wanting a fresh start. Naturally, both parents want to keep their custody and visitation rights in this situation. As the staying parent, you may naturally want to prevent your children from moving away.

Joint responsibility and relocation

If only have partial physical custody, you may not have decision-making power for your children. However, this does not mean that you have no say when it comes to moves involving your children.

If you have any court-ordered parental responsibility, you have a right to physically care for your children, and a move may disrupt this. If your spouse wants to relocate, they must first notify you in writing and then file a motion for a hearing in court.

The court will start with your original divorce agreement as the status quo, and any changes to the agreement must be made for the best interest of the child. So, if the court decides that it is in the children’s best interest for you to keep physical custody, they will either deny their relocation, or stipulate that the children live with you for a part of the year.

If you have joint parental responsibility for your children, you may be thinking that your spouse cannot move the children without your permission, as you have equal decision-making power. However, this is not always the case. Again, the courts can revise your initial agreement during the hearing if they deem it in the children’s best interest.

Relocation affects visitation schedule

Even if you do not have custody over your children, you still have a right to contest the relocation of your children on the grounds that it affects your visitation rights. A child’s inability to see one of their parents on a consistent basis may negatively affect their well-being. Thus, even if you do not have custody, you may still be able to prevent your children from leaving the state.

Best interests of the children

The issue of relocation can reintroduce a lot of stress from divorce. It is helpful to remember that the courts have your children’s best interest in mind, just as you do. They also understand that changing schools and homes can often be the hardest things for children of divorce to deal with. Though you may have parted ways with your spouse, you are still a parent to your children, and you have a right to voice your desires and concerns to the judge.

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