You have primary physical custody of your children, and you’d love to move — but your co-parent isn’t likely to give their consent.
Can you get the court to modify your custody agreement so that you can go? Maybe. Here’s what you need to consider.
The “best interests of the child” rule everything
When custody is decided and divided, the courts always consider what benefits the child — not the parent. In other words, you need to frame your argument for the move-away request around how the move will benefit your children — not you.
For example, here’s how one common argument can be framed: You’re moving somewhere you’ll be close to your extended family. Your children’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all want to be involved in their lives, and they’re willing and able to provide child care while you work. That will not only enrich your children’s connections to their family, but they’ll also benefit financially from your increased income opportunities.
It’s true, naturally, that you benefit from the move as much as your children — but that’s not how you want to present your case in court.
In addition, you need to be prepared to show the court that you have no intention of depriving your co-parent of their visitation rights, that you’ll go out of your way to facilitate electronic visitation on a regular basis and that you’ll happily work on a custody schedule that will give your co-parent some quality in-person time with the kids after the move.
Whether you plan to move out of town or out of the state, you need to find out exactly what your rights and obligations are when it comes to the custody of your children. Find out more about your legal options before you make any plans.