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When a Parent’s Relocation Plans Affect the Time the Other Parent Has with a Child

Once your divorce case goes through court and custody and parenting time arrangements are put in place, it can be hard to know what to do if the custodial parent decides to relocate far away, sometimes to another state. If you only have parenting time granted, and the other parent moves far away, any regular time that you’re allowed with your child under the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines may be practically impossible to take advantage of.

As the noncustodial parent, you may need to hire an experienced family law attorney to challenge relocation attempts, or to appeal to the court to allow you more time with your children on each visit.

A family lawyer can help even if you are the relocating parent

Custodial parents planning relocation often make the mistake of assuming that they are free to move anywhere they want. It’s important to understand, however, that the relocating parent needs to demonstrate to the court that the plan to move away is in good faith, and is not simply a way to deny the noncustodial parent their time with the child. Retaining a lawyer can help the relocating parent prove how their case is genuine.

In paternity cases, often, the father may have registered his paternity at the hospital during the birth of the child but never registered it in court to obtain a paternity decree. In this case, the custodial parent, usually the mother, is able to move without filing a notice of intent to relocate. The father, the non-relocating parent, may need to launch a paternity case to enter his objection to the relocation. In such a case, the other parent is able to file an objection if they can prove that the relocation is not in the child’s best interests.

The evidence they present may include proof of the child’s wishes, or the relationship that the child has with the noncustodial parent, a sibling, or other family members. The degree of attachment that the child has to their community, the possibility of domestic violence, or proof that relocation would make it difficult for the child to remain in contact with a de facto custodian who has cared for them, would all make admissible objections.

A family law attorney can be an ally

Relocations affect the time that noncustodial parents have with their child. It can take considerable legal expertise to prove in court that your objections are real. Your attorney may even hire a forensic clinical psychologist to establish in court that relocation may adversely affect the child. If you are the relocating parent, with a lawyer’s help, you should be able to build up the body of evidence you need to demonstrate that the relocation is in good faith, and for a good reason. After meeting this step, you will need to prove that the relocation is in your child’s best interest.  Relocating with a child is often difficult and you should discuss your chances and what factors the Court will look to with an experienced lawyer before making plans to relocate.