Last July a New York Supreme Court denied a relocation petition from a custodial father who was seeking permission to move from New York to another state in the United States. In the matter of Hirtz v. Hirtz, the father, a pediatrician in the military received orders to relocate and sought to take his two children with him. When the children’s mother filed her objection to the relocation, the court took a closer look at the family and reversed its earlier decision, granting sole legal and physical custody to the mother.
How a judge decides on a relocation petition
When considering a petition for relocation with minor children, the judge weighs the pros and cons of the move and how the move might affect the children. Some areas of debate include:
If the parent who is asking to relocate is the primary custodian, the second parent can voice an objection to the petition. Once the case is before the court, any number of things can happen, among them the court can reevaluate the current custody situation.
A relocation hearing invites closer scrutiny
In the case of Hirtz v. Hirtz as described above, the court took the opportunity of the father’s relocation petition to reverse the previous custody decision. Not only was the father’s petition denied, he also lost custody of his children in the process.
In general, judges are disinclined to grant petitions to relocate without highly compelling reasons for the move. In a 1999 Rhode Island case a woman relinquished physical custody of her children in order to follow a romantic interest to Europe. When she returned to petition for the right to relocate with her children, the court ruled that, based on her earlier decision to value her relationship over the best interest of her children, the request was denied.
If you are planning to relocate after your divorce and are the primary custodian for your children, you need good legal representation. Speak to a Buffalo area divorce attorney who knows the law and can uphold your parental rights.
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…