If you're separating or divorcing from your spouse, you may want to move. For some individuals, moving gives them the fresh start they crave to begin their new lives. However, if you have minor children, this can complicate the moving process. Follow these guidelines when moving during or after a divorce.
1. Check the Terms of Your Divorce Decree
Before you make any moving preparations, it's vital to check the terms of your divorce decree (if your divorce has gotten this far). Many divorce decrees place limitations on how far a parent may move without procuring permission from the court. If your case isn't finalized, don't just pack up and move. This will not look favorably to the judge who may view the move as an attempt to prevent your ex-spouse from spending meaningful time with your children.
2. Be Prepared to Make an Argument for the Move
Courts generally don't oppose local moves that don't affect your children's time with their other parent. However, getting approval for moves of longer distances can be much trickier, especially if your ex-spouse vehemently opposes the move. You'll need to be prepared to argue your case in court.
When making an argument for the move, it's important to focus on how the move will benefit the children. Perhaps you'll have access to a stronger support network to assist with childcare or maybe you can earn more money in a new location (thus providing your child a more financially stable environment). You want to make sure that any arguments focus on how your move will benefit your child.
You may want to offer suggestions for alternative parenting plans that demonstrate the steps you'll take to maintain your child's relationship with their other parent. Maybe you're willing to help with travel and associated expenses, or you might offer to let your children have extended visits in the summer and around holidays. Don't offer anything that you're not sure you can stick to; your ex-spouse can take you to court if you violate your agreement.
3. Keep Documentation That Supports Your Move
It's important to keep a written record of evidence that supports your need to move. Your ex-spouse may have a habit of skipping their time with their children or cutting their times together short. Keep a note of any instances where your spouse misses a visit or cuts it short. Even if your ex-spouse has a valid reason for skipping the visit (like work obligations), this can help show the court that the existing parenting plan isn't working. Evidence can also assist you with arguing that the move will be beneficial for your child.
If you're thinking about moving during or after a divorce, talk with a child custody attorney like those at Law Offices of Lynda Latta, LLC about what steps you need to take.