When a couple goes through a divorce, they are able to move on separately with their lives. In doing so, they are often presented with new life circumstances. Sometimes, they can require the individual to move. This may be due to a job offer or family matter. While this is meant to be an exciting time for them, it can also become difficult if they are a parent.
Majority of the time, a divorced parent wants their child to move with them when they have to relocate. In many cases, the other parent opposes this because they want their child to stay close to them. Situations such as these may require parents to settle the issue through litigation.
Physical Custody vs Legal Custody
During a divorce, custody arrangements are established for a family with children. When this happens, a parent can be awarded physical and legal custody. Both of these arrangements cover a different part of the child’s life. Physical custody establishes a child’s custodial parent. This is the parent with whom they live and spend the majority of their time. However, it is important to know what the child does spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home.
Legal custody is in regard to the amount of influence a parent can have in their child’s life. With this custody, they have the right to be involved in making important decisions throughout the child’s upbringing. This includes matters of healthcare, education, religion, and even relocation cases. It is crucial that a non-custodial parent obtain legal custody even if they do not have physical custody. This gives them the right to fight for their child to stay if the other parent wants to relocate.
There are some cases in which parents can settle relocation issues between themselves. Other times, they may need to go to court for a judge to make the decision for them. During this time, the parent who wants to move must convince the court that relocating would be in the child’s best interest. The other parent can also express their opposition to the court.
In order to reach a decision, the judge considers several factors regarding the child. This can include:
- The relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child
- The child’s relationship with their extended family
- The child’s academic and social life
- The child’s quality of life
The court may also consider several factors regarding the parents. This can include:
- The reason for relocating
- Why the non-custodial parent opposes the move
- How the move may impact the custodial parent’s quality of life
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