Vacanti | Shattuck | Finocchiaro Attorneys

What Are The Rules Pertaining To Relocation Of A Parent In A Child Custody Matter?

If a parent wants to remove a child from the state, as a permanent move, they would have to prove two things to the court. They would have to prove that they have a legitimate reason for moving away and they would have to prove that it is in the best interests of the minor child to do so. A legitimate reason is generally something to do with employment or possibly a new spouse. Those are quite easy to prove to the court. The more difficult one is to prove that it is in the best interests of a child or children to move them away from the other parent. These are difficult cases to decide because there is clearly a winner and a loser and when two parents live very far away from each other, it really prevents one of the parents from having an ongoing relationship with the minor child.

How Is Jurisdiction Defined If The Parents Reside In Separate States?

If parents reside in different states, the way you determine which state has jurisdiction is based on a federal act called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It states that wherever the child has lived for the last six consecutive months is the state that would have jurisdiction over a child custody matter.

Will The Court Modify A Visitation Schedule Due To A Relocation?

If one parent is granted leave to remove a child from the state and move to another state, then the parenting schedule that was previously in place would need to be modified. If you are living across town, it’s easy to see a child during the week and on the weekends. If you are living across the country, then it’s much more difficult to exchange the child, so there would be a modification of whatever the parenting schedule previously. Generally, we try to make up time that’s lost. We would look to make up those days, perhaps, in the summer, creating a new plan where the child lives with one parent during the school year and the other during summer vacation.

Will We Have To Go To Court To Discuss A Relocation Request?

Relocation or removal cases almost always go to court. It’s not often that one parent would agree to the other parent taking the child or children and moving away because it’s going to prevent that parent from having a relationship with their child or children. These are cases that almost always go to court, ultimately have a trial and then, the court has to decide if there is a legitimate reason for the parent to move away, and if it is in the best interests of the children to move away.

Can I Appeal A Relocation Decision Granted By The Court?

If you are a parent and the other parent is granted leave to remove the child from the state, your remedy would be to appeal that to the Court of Appeals or possibly even to the Supreme Court. As in most cases, appeals are tough. The trial court judge viewed the witnesses, viewed the exhibits, and heard all the evidence. Often, the Court of Appeals will determine that the trial court judge ruled properly or did not make any significant error that would warrant changing the trial court’s decision.

Do Today’s Laws Make It Difficult For An Unmarried Father To Sustain A Relationship With His Children?

We are actually seeing things better today than we have in a long time for fathers who are not married to the mothers of their children. We refer to these cases commonly as paternity cases because they are cases where the father would establish that he is the father of the minor child, whereas in a divorce case, there is a presumption that a child born under the marriage is the child of the father and the mother. Recently, we are seeing that unwed fathers are treated much more favorably than they have been in the past and generally have a good opportunity to get custody or joint custody.

Who Automatically Has Custody Of The Child When The Parents Are Not Married?

Custody of a child, when parents are not married, can be to both parents, if the father has acknowledged paternity and the mother acknowledges that the father is, in fact, the biological father. Then, both parents are acknowledged to be the natural parents of a minor child. The problem comes with a father who has not acknowledged paternity or a mother who says that the father may be someone other than the father who wants to allege that he is the father. In those cases, the natural custodian would be the mother, until it’s established either through an acknowledgment of paternity or genetic testing, who the biological father is. Once that is established, then both are considered the natural custodians of a minor child.

For more information on Rules Pertaining To Relocation Of A Child, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (402) 235-6070 today.

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