divorce & relocation - long island divorce lawyers
Whether from first-hand experience or through the media, most are familiar with the common areas of divorce such as child support and custody. While working toward managing these difficult issues, divorcing couples may overlook lesser-known issues which can arise in the future. It is beneficial for all parties involved to gain knowledge in these areas before they arise. Relocation of the custodial parent is one of these important areas.
Relocation – While in the process of divorce, emotions run high for most typical divorces, and the concept of relocation doesn’t come up because it is not prevalent in the moment. However, sometimes a custodial parent needs to relocate for career purposes. In other instances, the custodial parent feels it is in the best interest of the children for economic and/or educational purposes to relocate. Having this conversation early on can mean the difference between appearing back in court or not.
With divorce comes financial change and stress. Whereas two people previously were sharing the financial responsibilities, now each party is responsible for their own finances. Relocating is sometimes the only alternative for a custodial parent and their children to thrive. However, under the laws in New York, one parent cannot simply up and relocate with their children without the consent of the other parent. If the non-custodial parent objects, the custodial parent cannot relocate without the Court’s approval.
In relocation, the custodial parent must present evidence that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. The court decides what is in the best interests of the child based on what is known as Tropea factors; Tropea v. Tropea, 87 N.Y. 2d 727 (1996)
Since there are varying factors, a review of each individual case is necessary; however, the premise is based on the standard of what is in the best interests of the child. There are several factors to consider, but not limited to, in evaluating a custodial parent’s request to relocate:
- Both the custodial and non-custodial parents reasoning for requesting or opposing of the relocation
- The relationship between the child and the custodial and non-custodial parent
- The effect of the move on maintaining the quantity and quality of the child’s future relationship with the noncustodial parent
- The benefit on the child’s life economically, emotionally, and educationally by relocating
- Suitable visitation rights of the non-custodial parent
- The impact on extended family relationships
If a custodial parent is establishing a new family unit and the Court feels it is in the best interest of the child to relocate, the Court may allow the move. On the other hand, if the Court feels that transferring custody to the non-custodial parent is in the best interest of the child, the Court may rule in favor of a custody change. Again, each case is unique unto itself and it all ultimately comes down to the facts, circumstances, and evidence supporting what is in the best interest of the child.
If you are divorcing and relocation is possible in your future or if you want to safeguard your child’s best interests in the future, make sure you get the most current information available to you by contacting one of our highly experienced attorneys. We can help you to ensure your child’s best interests are met.