Relocation is never an easy task. Anyone who is looking to make a move will need to find a new place to live and sell or finish the lease on their previous home all while dealing with the logistics of moving their things. This process is even more complex for those who are looking to move with children after a divorce.
Why is the process more difficult after a divorce?
In most cases, courts encourage both parents to play an active role in the upbringing of their children after a divorce. They help achieve this goal by having parents put together parenting plans outlining the role each parent will play in their children’s lives even after divorce.
Maintaining this parenting plan after a large move can be very difficult. As such, custodial parents will generally need to go through a legal process before they can officially make their move.
What is the legal process?
Indiana state law has requirements regarding notice and filing the right paperwork before making such a move. If the other parent objects, they may take the matter to Court. If the Court is asked to rule on the move, it will consider various factors when granting or denying the relocation of a parent with children. Some of the more common include:
- Relationships. The court will likely take into account the quality of the relationships between the children and the custodial and noncustodial parents when making a determination.
- Impact of the move on relationships. It is also important for a moving custodial parent to clarify how the move will affect these relationships. Will it have a negative impact on the quantity and quality of the children’s future contact with the noncustodial parent? If so, what are the plans to mitigate this risk? This can include suitable parenting time arrangements.
- Overall benefit of the move. It is likely that if you are taking the time and putting in the effort to make a move there is a good reason. The custodial parent should explain these reasons including information about the degree to which the move will enhance their and the children’s lives economically, emotionally, and educationally.
- Role of noncustodial parent. The court will likely look into whether the noncustodial parent exercised all the parenting time with the children he or she was allowed under the current Order as part of its determination. This can include involvement of the noncustodial parent in the education, extracurricular activities, and medical care of the children.
One of the biggest obstacles moving custodial parents face is often the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the children. To help overcome this obstacle, the court may consider the willingness of the relocating parent to share in the transportation expenses for the parenting time.