Child relocation issues arise when the parent with residential custody of his/her child seeks to move the child outside the noncustodial parent’s locale, which would then affect parental access.
When reviewing a custodial parent’s request to relocate, the Court’s primary focus will be on the best interests of the child. Nearly every relocation request will carry its own unique set of facts, but in addressing or determining that request, the Court will always emphasize what outcome will serve the child’s best interests. The custodial parent has the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed move is in the child’s best interests. The factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:
- Geographical child relocation restrictions included in the parties’ separation agreement;
- The impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the relationship between the child’s future contact with the non-custodial parent;
- Devising a visitation schedule which enables a meaningful relationship;
- The degree to which the custodial parent’s and the child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally from the move;
- Custodial parent’s opportunity to improve his or her economic situation;
- Prior defiance of Court orders;
- Good faith bases for the move;
- Quality of lifestyle for the child;
- Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the move; and
- The quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and noncustodial parents.