Parenting plans created by divorcing parents may be working as intended—until something comes up. The goal of a parenting plan is to ensure the child spends time with both parents, feels secure and settled, and that the plan works well for each parent. When it's time for one parent to move to a new location, things may need to be altered. Read on to find out more.
Child Custody and Parenting Plans
You have a few options to help you manage a parental move. What used to be called child custody now often referred to as a parenting plan. The choices in custody have expanded along with the new name. Traditional choices like shared custody or joint custody have been joined by bird's nest custody. Bird's nest custody has the child living in the same home while each parent takes turns caring for the child while the other parent lives elsewhere.
Trying to Work Things Out
Taking things before the family court when the need for a move arises is almost always necessary. Some parents have the foresight to include provisions for any future moves in their parenting plan. As long as both parents are still in agreement, it's not necessary to go before a judge. In many cases, however, the parents should try to work things out regardless of any preexisting provisions. Parents are usually required to provide the other parent with notice of an upcoming move well ahead of time. In cases where the parents are not in agreement on the move, the family court judge must decide based on the best interest of the child.
Abiding by State Rules
When dealing with minor children, the best interest of the child is paramount. No matter what prompted the move, the judge may not approve of moving the child without some very good reasons. In some states, moves that mean separating the minor child from another parent by more than a few hour's drive are not usually approved. In some cases, however, the parents can show reasons that justify the move, such as:
- Medical needs can be better met in a new location.
- Educational opportunities are better elsewhere.
- A firm job offer that means a lot more income.
- The child can benefit from family relationships in the new location.
Moving can place stress on everyone and can create issues with the best of parenting plans. Speak to family law attorney to find out more about what to do if you or the other parent plans to move away.