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Is your former spouse allowed to relocate with your children?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2021 | Child Custody

You don’t have to be your children’s custodial parent to have a strong relationship with them and get to see them frequently. This bond would most likely be threatened if the custodial parent wants to relocate with them outside of New York State or even outside of the county you and the children currently live in.

When a custodial parent wants to relocate, do you have any grounds to dispute their decision? In New York, you can. Under state law, a custodial parent cannot move your children out of state, or maybe even outside of your county of residence without your – or the court’s – permission. You may also prevent a move that would add significant time or distance between you and the children.

How New York addresses parental relocation

Before the custodial parent can relocate to another state, county of residence, or an unreasonable distance from you with your children, they must receive your consent. If you do not provide consent, they must receive court approval before they can relocate. For this to happen, the court must find that it is in your children’s best interests to relocate with the custodial parent.

The court will consider the following factors when ruling whether the custodial parent can relocate outside of New York with your children:

  • The reasons for the custodial parent’s relocation and the reasons that you oppose it
  • The quality of relationship your children have with both you and the custodial parent
  • Whether relocating will impact your children’s ability to remain in contact with you
  • Whether relocating will disrupt the stability in your children’s lives
  • Whether relocating will lead to a measurable improvement in your children’s quality of life
  • Whether you will be able to maintain a strong relationship with your children if they relocate

Objecting to parental relocation

Although the other parent may be your children’s custodial parent, you have the right to object to their proposed relocation. In doing so, though, you must show that relocation could disrupt your children’s rhythms, routines and relationships. You must also provide evidence that you are active in your children’s lives, and that the custodial parent’s decision would cause your role to diminish.

You must do everything in your power to protect your relationship with your children if the other parent wants to relocate with them. With the help of a family law attorney and matrimonial lawyer, you can work toward an outcome that allows both you and your children to live happily ever after.