Many people understand that the usual problems associated with joint custody of children, like scheduling conflicts, child support payments and coordinating vacations, are difficult. However, a bigger problem that many parents do not consider is that shared custody can inhibit your ability to pick up and move. Joint custody generally requires that both parents have access to the child so that they can continue raising them together. Moving away to another town or state will obviously impact the ability of the non-moving parent to share in raising the child.
Usually, the way these disputes arise is when the primary custodial parents want to move away because of a new relationship or job and the other parent objects. Typically, the other parent will object because the move will substantially affect their ability to contribute to raising the child. If there is no agreement to manage these disputes, then it is left to the court to decide.
The law governing these disputes can be very complicated. Generally, the easiest way to get a relocation granted is by getting the express consent of the other party. Alternative dispute resolution, like negotiating with your ex-spouse, can sometimes be easier than using more combative methods.
Failing getting express consent, there is usually a strict procedure that controls how you may get a relocation order granted. The court will consider several factors such as:
- The distance of the move.
- The benefits of the new job.
- The impact on the children's education.
- How close the move will bring the children to other family, like grandparents.
- Change in cost of living.
You will need to gather evidence that the move is in "good faith." This means that you want to move away for a good reason, like one of the reasons stated above, and not because you are trying to get back at your ex-spouse. Regardless of the reasons for your move, you will definitely need to submit some sort of document outlining a visitation, schedule travel costs and changes to the custody agreement. If you or a loved one got a new job or need to move away, then you may want to consult with a family law attorney. Relocation orders are complicated, but manageable.