Wolf & Fox, P.C.

Relocating with children after divorce

There were probably times during your divorce when you felt like the process would never end. You were ready to take your final agreement and move on to a new life with your children; yet, various obstacles and challenges along the way kept causing delays. Finally, you stood in an Albuquerque courtroom for (what you thought) was the last time. The court issued its decree and that was that - you were free to move on and create a new, happy lifestyle with your children's best interests and well-being at heart.

Like many other parents in New Mexico who have gone through divorce, you might not have had all your plans for the future mapped out. So, during the weeks or months that followed, you and your children did your best to develop new routines and traditions to embrace your new lifestyle and find your own new "normal" in the process. Now, things have changed in such a way that you did not expect. The topic of relocation has arisen.

Are there rules about relocating with your children?

As you've likely already noticed, divorce changes everything in your personal life. Especially with regard to parenting decisions, as there are many laws and regulations that govern what you may and may not do. For instance, some of the following typically apply where relocation and child custody issues are concerned:

  • The custodial parent often has to inform the non-custodial parent of his or her plans to relocate. Sometimes, this must be done in writing.
  • The court has the ultimate say in such decisions, and it has the power to prohibit relocation. The court might exercise that power if it believes relocation is being undertaken as a form of retaliation or revenge against the other parent.
  • The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act sets the standard for which court has decision-making power in a particular instance - meaning, whether the court in one state must defer to a court in another state.

State laws regarding relocation with children after divorce vary. This is why it's usually best to investigate the laws in your state rather than simply packing up and moving on without clarifying whether specific rules apply. That has led to trouble for more than one divorced parent in the past.

Two sides to every issue

If you're the non-custodial parent and you disagree with the other parent's intent to relocate, you may pursue the matter by requesting the court's intervention. From either side of this type of issue, there are various factors that can affect not only affect the lives of both parents, but also can impact the relationships between parents and children as well. What if relocation will create vast geographical distance between parental residences? How will the children get back and forth for visits, and who will meet those expenses?

Whether you have been offered a fantastic new job and are eager to take advantage of the opportunity, or you are on the opposite side of the issue and are worried your connection with your children will suffer if they are moved hundreds (or thousands) of miles away from you, there are resources available to help you make informed decisions and exercise your parental rights so that a fair and agreeable solution can be obtained.

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