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Child custody and visitation is a common source for dispute in a New York divorce. Often, the issues center around which parent will have the child for the bulk of the time and how visitation will be handled. If the parents live relatively close to each other, the logistics of ensuring the child spends sufficient time with both parents may recede to the background. However, if the custodial parent decides that he or she wants to move out of state, it can result in a contentious disagreement.
This has been addressed in the past, but since it is such a serious and frequently occurring topic, it is important to emphasize it. First, it is crucial to consider the original reasons for the custody determination and how visitation is allocated. The best interests of the child are paramount. That includes the parent who has been the primary caregiver; parenting abilities; the parents’ mental health; if there was domestic violence; how the scheduling can be arranged and adjusted; if there is an ongoing relationship between the child, siblings and other family members; the child’s desires; and if the parents can coordinate and cooperate.
All these issues are imperative when the child custody and visitation decision is made, but it is exacerbated if the custodial parent wants to move. The reason for the requested relocation is essential. Perhaps the custodial parent has a new job opportunity and wants to move because of it. The custodial parent’s family may reside in a different state and he or she wants to be closer to them. There could be a remarriage. Or there may be safety issues in play. The non-custodial parent could also have reasons to oppose the move such as not wanting to be deprived of his or her parenting time or concerns about safety.
Whether it is from the perspective of the custodial parent of the non-custodial parent, relocation is one of the most complex aspects of family law. In some instances, the parents can come to a workable agreement. Or it can be a source for a court battle that can be damaging to both parents and the child. The child’s needs are paramount and this becomes a greater focus depending on societal circumstances such as the current health situation. Having legal assistance can be helpful in these difficult cases and consulting with experienced legal professionals who understand child custody and family law can formulate a comprehensive plan to deal with relocation.
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