Although you may not have custody of your child, if you have visitation rights, then the custodial parent cannot infringe on your ability to see them. Although a custodial parent may attempt to leave the state, or even the country, with your child, the burden this would place on your ability to see them places the law on your side. For the parent to succeed in this venture, they would have to invest a significant amount of time, complete copious amounts of paperwork and successfully pass through the required court involvement.
The Rights of Each Party
No matter what your visiting rights are, the custodial parent of a child is allowed to move with the child anywhere within the same state. If the parent wishes to take both themselves and the child out of state or out of the country, the custodial parent must file a petition or otherwise confirm that the custodial arrangement permits this decision.
Your rights include the ability to challenge the decision to move in such cases. If anyone in the child’s life does not agree to the relocation, especially you, the court will need to step in, and it will make an ultimate decision on the matter. The court will always rule in favor of the child, and the custodial parent can only legally go through with the move if it is in the child’s best interests.
Steps to Take to Prevent the Move
Fortunately, if the custodial parent of your child is trying to move at least 100 miles away, this is considered as “long distance,” and you must be notified of the custodial parent’s intent before they put their plan in motion. If the move is not permitted by the custody agreement, your child’s custodial parent will have to seek the permission of the court to file a notice of intent to relocate.
Should you find yourself in this situation, the only way to prevent your child from moving is to show your objection by filing a motion and arguing in court that the plan of action set in plan by the custodial parent will go against the child’s best interests. To be successful in your argument, you must explain how the move will cause a disruption in your child’s life and that changing routines, switching schools, and otherwise uprooting their daily life will negatively affect your child.
Factors in the Final Say
The court will weigh all of the argued reasons for the move to determine if it is justified. If the custodial parent has a job opportunity or transfer, for example, it is possible that the court will allow the relocation, judging that the career opportunities available to the custodial parent will have a long-term benefit on the child’s life. The move is even more likely to be approved if the custodial parent has come up with a reasonable schedule that will allow the child to see you.
If the child is old enough, the court will ask them for their own input on the situation, which will also be taken into consideration, especially if there is extended family nearby. The strength of the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent could thus play a major role in the court’s decision.
It is important to keep in mind that not only must you convince the court, but you must also convince the guardian ad litem, who may be appointed to you, that the move is not in the best interest of your child. The guardian ad litem is responsible for speaking with your child in order to evaluate their life and relationship with you.
Ultimately, the guardian ad litem will report their opinion to the court on whether they believe moving is the right choice. Although a decision for the custodial parent will take the situation out of your hands, a decision against the custodial parent will prohibit the move and, in special cases, may warrant further updates to the custodial agreement. Speak with an experienced attorney such as the Custody lawyer Brooklyn NY locals turn to.
Thanks to authors at The Law Office of Inna Fershteyn and Associates, P.C. for their insight into Family Law.