The Effects of Relocation on Child Custody and Visitation

The Effects of Relocation on Child Custody and Visitation

Family Law & Divorce Lawyers in Westchester, NY

At the end of your divorce or child custody case, you and the other parent likely have in place some sort of child custody and visitation schedule. And, nothing is more uncomfortable and upsetting to learn that the other parent wants to relocate, take your child with them and change the custody and visitation schedule that you fought so hard to achieve. This is one of the most common issues that our family law and divorce attorneys help clients face and we work diligently with our clients to overcome the unique problems that arise from one parent seeking to leave the state or county they live in.

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

Custody and visitation cases involving parents who live in different states are known as interstate disputes. In these cases, the first question that needs to be answered is which state’s court will hear a case. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) determines whether your case is heard in New York or elsewhere. This law is applied throughout the country and is meant to help parties address this issue.

Question: May a Parent Relocate with a Child?

Each parent has the inherent right to see their child, regardless of whether or not they have full or joint custody. Along the same lines, each parent also has the right to live their life and sometimes this means pursuing a new career or opportunity in an entirely different state.

When this happens, these become the common questions:

  1. Can I move out of state with my child?
  2. Can I prevent my child's other parent from relocating and taking my child?
  3. Can I get my child back if they live in another state?
  4. Do I need to hire a lawyer in both New York and the other state?

Answer: It Depends on the “Best Interests of the Child”

As with so many other matters involving child custody and visitation in New York, it all comes down to what the court believes serves the child’s best interests. When considering whether or not a child may be relocated, a court will seek to determine if the move can be done in such a way that it will not completely disrupt the child’s life, if it can be done in such a way that non-moving parent’s access to the child can be accommodated and if the child clearly benefits from the relocation.

Since every relocation case is different, it is difficult to say that any particular factor will convince a court and establish what is in the best interest of the child. Your life, the life of the other parent, and your child’s interests will all weigh on and influence the court’s decision. The best way to make sure that your position regarding a possible relocation is properly presented to the court is to speak with a family law attorney as soon as you know that relocation is on the horizon.

With the help of our Westchester County family law and divorce attorneys at Riebling & Payton, PLLC, we will work to craft a solid case on your behalf that argues clearly to the court why your needs to relocate, or why you oppose relocation, should be respected.

Call us today for a Consultation. (914) 712-6878

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    Marcia Payton
    Marcia began her legal career by working as an Assistant District Attorney in New York City, prosecuting criminal cases in the country's finest and most highly regarded District Attorney's Office - New York County. It was here that Marcia worked with police officers and detectives and learned how a criminal investigation is handled from arrest to trial. Marcia successfully prosecuted thousands of criminal cases while working in the Office of Special Narcotics in New York City, presenting ...
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    Stephen J. Riebling
    “The Court has to say, I have been impressed by Mr. Riebling’s knowledge … and his grasp of the records in this case. It is beyond any that I have seen in any kind of a case similar to this. I am just saying, it’s part of my thinking that someone with your knowledge would be able to understand these things certainly better than I am and perhaps most laymen or even attorneys…” - Westchester Supreme Court Judge Robert Neary Judge Neary was the presiding judge in the murder trial of Lacey Spears. ...

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