Let Us Help You Tackle the Legal Challenges Inherent in Relocation

The U.S. population is more highly mobile than ever. Career paths regularly involve moves across the state or across the country, as do schooling opportunities, family needs, and other major life events.

When you create a child custody plan in Connecticut, you do it in the hopes that it will continue to meet your children’s interests for years to come. What happens, however, if the other parent moves away and wants to renegotiate that arrangement? What if you get a job opportunity across the country and seek modification of the plan?

Connecticut law allows for the modification of child custody and visitation plans if one parent needs to relocate. However, there are challenges when asking the Court to Relocate.

The Main Challenge of Relocation is Timeliness

Whether your ex is looking to move with your children or you’re seeking to move yourself, please note:

  • Relocation issues are time sensitive. No matter what side you are on, do not delay getting insight into your case from an experienced Connecticut divorce attorney.
  • A motion to relocate or a motion to prevent relocation must be filed with the Court in order to protect your rights.
  • It can be challenging to get your child back to Connecticut if they have already moved.

The Relocation Process: More Detail

When one parent plans to move, the first question the court will ask is, “Does this move affect the existing parenting plan?” Not all moves need to change the parenting plan dramatically. For example, a move across Connecticut or even to Western Massachusetts may not demand a change, depending on whether the original plan can still be carried out. But a move that takes one parent a significant distance away – such as to New York City or even further – will require a parenting plan modification.

Bearing in mind the caveats discussed above, a parent who wants a child to move with him or her must show that:

  • The relocation is for a “legitimate purpose,” like taking a new job or being closer to family;
  • In light of this purpose, the location is reasonable – for instance, you plan to move to the same city in which your new job is located;
  • The relocation is in the child’s best interests.

Typically, the court spends the most time asking whether the move is in the child’s best interests, because this is the most complex question of the three. To that end, the court will ask several questions similar to those asked when the parenting plan was created. Why are the parents seeking (or opposing) the relocation? What is the child’s relationship with each parent like? How will the move change the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent? What opportunities for the child are available in the move – or in staying put? Can a parenting plan be worked out that allows the child to maintain a strong relationship with each parent?

The barriers to relocation can be formidable. However, if either parent is considering taking action along these lines, time is of the essence. Contact us today to discuss your options and make a strategic plan to ensure fairness and stability for your children.