Modifying Child Custody Due to Parental Relocation

When a parent moves out of state or to a different location that is a significant distance from the other parent, rules change. Most of the time, the child custody judge wants to ensure both parents receive equal time with their child, as this helps ensure that the child is getting the attention he or she deserves. However, if there is an agreement in place and one parent relocates, that may make visitation difficult.

What Are Valid Reasons for Modifications?

Because child custody remains in place until a child is 18 years old, there are plenty of instances in which relocation concerns exist. It is possible for judges to change custody agreements when they no longer work for the situation. For example, if a parent needs to relocate to a new location for a job or because there is a need for medical care that is further away, these are valid reasons why an adjustment of parental rights may be warrantied. If a parent does not have a verifiable reason for such modifications, then the judge may not rule that such actions are warranted or considered necessary.

How Does Modification Occur?

If there is a divorce or child custody scenario that warrants modifications, the parent must petition the court for a change in the custody agreement. If the parent is relocating but is not the primary custody parent, his or her rights may be different. For example, if the child was spending weekends with a parent now, but the parent’s new location is too far, they may be able to adjust this to fewer times per year.

If the other parent does not agree to changes that the parent relocating is making, he or she will need to petition the court to ensure that the child’s needs are being met. A judge will then decide what is warranted in the case while placing the child’s best interests as the focus. In situations of an emergency, the police should be called, and the court will then make a decision about the safety of the child in the given situation. Schedule a consultation with the experienced legal team at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP.

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