Relocation, Relocation, Relocation – Moving & Child Placement

July 20, 2020

Relocation is a common issue when dealing with divorce and paternity cases – especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the past few months, unemployment has increased and the need for continued support has not changed. A parent may need to relocate for a new job or to move in with other family members. There are many factors in relocation that could impact child placement.

Considering a Relocation

When considering a relocation, it is important to focus on who is moving. If placement will substantially change, it is important to determine whether the moving party is seeking primary placement with the child. These types of matters apply to both divorce and paternity cases.

Will Relocation Change Placement

It is common for one or both parties to relocate during the period before their child turns eighteen. If one party’s relocation will substantially change the placement between the two parties or the distance is greater than 100 miles (150 miles for the statute prior to April 1, 2018), placement will need to be reevaluated.

Where to File a Relocation Motion

A relocation motion is filed in the county where the action was previously heard. If there has been a substantial change, which resulted in both parents moving from the prior county, there may be an opportunity to change where the case is heard.

Notifying the Other Parent of Intent to Relocate

You must properly notify the other parent of your intent to relocate. Perhaps a move of two miles will not substantially change placement, but a move of 150 miles could prevent two parents from sharing substantially equal placement.

How to Notify the Court of Intent to Relocate

Many relocations are fact specific and because of this, it is best to address these matters with your attorney. If you are the relocating party, it is important to create a framework for providing notice to the other party.

If your case commenced prior to April 5, 2018, you will fall under the old relocation statute. If your case commenced after April 5, 2018, you will fall under the new relocation statute.

At the heart of each statute is the best interests of the child. If the two parents do not agree, it falls on the relocating parent to file a motion with the Court. This motion will inform the Court of the party’s intent, purpose, plan and most times a proposed date of relocation.

Due to the fact specific nature of these actions, it is important you reach out to your attorney to discuss the best way to handle a relocation matter.