Sometimes after a divorce, circumstances change, and you might find yourself thinking about moving — perhaps a considerable distance away. Perhaps the relocation is to further a career opportunity, to be closer to family or simply to change your lifestyle. However, if you have custody of a minor child, the logistics of relocating are more complicated than just deciding upon which place you want to call your new home.
New York law does not allow a custodial parent to simply pick up and go. Most child custody orders address relocation in some form. Often they contain language specifying a mile radius within which the parent must reside. Relocating requires court permission and establishes a procedure to be followed.
Since the court approval process can take time, it is prudent to start it well in advance of your planned move date. First, you must give the other parent sufficient advance formal notice of their desire to relocate. If the other parent disagrees with the move, they can file their objection with the court. The court will then schedule a hearing to consider evidence and arguments on both sides.
The purpose of the hearing is to assess if the relocation is in the overall best interest of the child. The burden is on the moving parent to show that this is true. Some of the factors a judge will consider include:
If you are the moving parent, the most important argument you can make is that the child will continue their relationship with the non-moving parent. You should provide as many specifics as possible to show the court that the parent and child will have sufficient ongoing contact to maintain their relationship despite the distance.
Should you fail to get the court’s permission before moving, you may find that you have to return with the child or be held in contempt. Compliance with the law is important to avoid an unfavorable effect on your custody rights.
If you are a divorced parent with child custody and you are contemplating a long-distance move, The Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis can help. Our offices are conveniently located in Williamsville and downtown Buffalo and we represent clients throughout the area in various family law matters, including divorce, custody, and other types of family law litigation. Call 716-886-9600 or contact us online to schedule a meeting.
As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 28 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.
Alexandra M. Rockwood is a Senior Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis & Associates and has been with the firm since early 2020. She primarily practices in the areas of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Alexandra is a practicing matrimonial and family law attorney as…