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A parent subject to a parenting time and legal decision-making order must get either permission from the other parent or permission from the judge to move the child out of state or further than 100 miles away from the other parent.  Relocation litigation cases are frequently very high stakes.  On the one hand, the parent who is not relocating is facing a substantial decrease in the amount of time they will be able to spend with the child.  A relocation request can raise the possibility of a parent who has had an equal time parenting plan facing the prospect of seeing their child only on the longer school breaks and over Summer vacation.  That can be a devastating loss. 

On the other hand, even a parent who sincerely wishes for the child to have a close and loving relationship with the other parent can have compelling reasons for moving away.  Career opportunities, family dynamics and new relationships call all create a strong desire for a parent to be allowed to move and to take their child with them.  But if that parent does not get the judge’s permission to move, they will be ordered to return the child to the city where they formerly lived.  At that point, the moving parent would be forced to choose between leaving their child behind or not making the move they had planned on moving.

If you are contemplating a relocation, it is imperative to have an attorney represent you to make your best case to the judge to have the greatest chance to get an order approving the relocation.  The judges struggle with relocation cases, due to the high stakes involved and the fact that both sides in a relocation case can be the “good guy” at the same time.  Even when both parents are operating with pure intensions and in what they sincerely believe is the child’s best interests, it is a difficult decision for the judge to make.

It is also imperative to plan far in advance of a contemplated move.  From filing the petition until the trial over the relocation request can take many months, and even after the trial, you may not have the judge’s decision for up to sixty days.  If you think you may want to move out of state, please call for a consult as soon as possible.  There is literally no time to waste.