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A new job, relocation and child custody modification

Let us say that you have been divorced for three years and your daughter, Kay, is now 10 years old. You have accepted a new job offer, but it involves relocation. You are the custodial parent and plan to take Kay with you. How will the court view your petition for child custody modification?

About the move

From your point of view, the job offer you received is perfect. You will have a higher salary and can afford to buy a home in a good neighborhood close to the school Kay will attend. The neighborhood you have in mind is family-oriented, and Kay should have friends of her own age.

How the court views relocation

Top priority in the view of the court is always the best interests of the child. The judge will want to know how the intended move will benefit your child, so prepare to explain how Kay will benefit from the move. You can reference the neighborhood and the school and talk about the opportunities she will enjoy, such new friends close by and plenty of after-school activities.

Working on a compromise

The court will expect you to discuss your intended move with the other parent in a timely manner, and you have already done that. Kay’s mother expressed concern about the relocation because the main issue is the distance: Your new home will be about 80 miles from your current home. What kind of problems will that cause for visitation? You are open to compromise, allowing Kay to spend long weekends with her mom, with more time during the summer and on certain holidays.

Next steps

Although it is not uncommon for a divorced parent to petition the court for child custody modification with relocation in mind, you will have to convince the court that the move will be to your daughter’s benefit. You and your ex-spouse must work out a revised visitation plan you can present to the judge as a major part of your petition. Explore your legal options, and make sure you have covered all the bases when you seek the court’s approval for your relocation plan.

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