One of the primary concerns of divorced parents is maintaining their relationships with their children. Doing so can be challenging, if not impossible, when one parent wants to move away.

A judge must approve any plan to relocate with the children and will do so only if the move serves the children’s best interest. A Southbury relocation lawyer can help you develop a robust case for or against relocation. Working with one of our skilled child custody attorneys can give you the best chance of meeting your goals regarding relocation.

The Law Favors Stability for Children

When parents divorce, they must submit a parenting plan to the court that details how they will split time with the children. The plan must also designate which parents residence will serve as the children’s official address, the person responsible for transportation on which days, and where the children will spend holidays.

The court tries to ensure a stable environment for children when they evaluate a parenting plan. When approving custody and time-sharing arrangements, a judge considers the following:

  • Where the children have been living
  • The children’s educational and health needs
  • The children’s relationship with each of their parents
  • The children’s connection to their neighborhood, school, extended family, and friends

When the court determines it is in the children’s best interests, it will issue a parenting plan as an enforceable order with the divorce decree.

Should one parent later decide to relocate with the children—making the current parenting plan unworkable—the couple must modify the parenting plan. Ideally, the modified plan would allow the move but preserve the relationships between the children and both parents. A lawyer in Southbury can help the parents develop the modified parenting plan for relocation, and they could then submit it to the court for approval.

The Court Will Scrutinize a Parent’s Motivation

When the parents cannot agree on modifying the parenting plan, the parent seeking the move must petition the court for permission to move with the children.  Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-56d governs relocation with minor children and requires the parent wanting to move to prove they have a legitimate purpose for moving. The statue also requires that the location they select is reasonable, as well as, importantly, that the move supports the children’s best interests.

People often want to start over in a new place after a divorce and go somewhere with better employment and social opportunities or more family support. The court may consider whether limiting access to the children for one parent is motivating the other to relocate. The court would evaluate whether the parent who wants to move could achieve the same or similar ends without leaving, or by moving somewhere close enough that it does not interfere with the current parenting plan. A Southbury attorney can help a parent make persuasive arguments for or against relocation.

The court may also investigate why a parent objects to the move. The judge might consider evidence such as whether the objecting parent spends significant time with the children, if babysitters or other caregivers are present during the objecting parent’s parenting time, and if the objecting parent has frequently canceled visits or parenting time. If so, the judge might consider whether the parent objects to the move because of potential damage to the parent/child relationship or wants to inconvenience the co-parent or deny them a better life.

How the Court Decides Whether Relocation is in the Children’s Best Interests

In any decision regarding children, a judge’s primary focus must be what best serves the children. Even if a parent would clearly be better off in a different location, the court does not assume their happiness and prosperity will trickle down to the children.

It is important to note how the move will affect the children’s relationships with the parent left behind. A court might consider whether regular video calls and less frequent but longer visits would be sufficient to support the children’s relationship with the parent.

The court also must determine whether the children would benefit financially, emotionally, and educationally from the move. If the benefit to the children is questionable, a judge might deny a parent’s request to move. An attorney in Southbury can ensure a parent understands how a judge evaluates the children’s best interests and craft their arguments to the court accordingly.

Consult a Southbury Attorney on Relocation Issues

Relocation with the children after divorce is something the court examines closely. A judge will not approve a request to move with the children without evidence the children will benefit.

Whether you are the parent who wants to move or the one left behind, a Southbury relocation lawyer can help you make a persuasive case to the judge. Call today to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
220 Main Street Suite I Southbury CT 06488 (203) 806-9254