How Do Courts Decide Custody Issues When One Parent Wants to Relocate?
The first thing to determine is how far away the move takes the parent. Someone might live in Louisville and then move across the river, and that could be a shorter move than relocating to another place in Kentucky. Five miles across the river isn’t likely to change anything they set up in their parenting arrangement. People can, in fact, live in different states if they are not that far away and actually exercise the same schedule that they did whenever they were both living in the same state. For that reason, the analysis begins with the question: is this move going to shake up the situation so that the prior custody arrangement can’t be followed? If the answer is no, then the parent wants to be sure that they move appropriately and get all the documentation in the file, but then that may be the end of it. There may not be any court dates or any complications to it, other than just being sure that the rules are followed.
If the move is more significant and will cause a change to the schedule, then that’s where the process begins, almost like a new divorce. Each party usually gets an attorney who exchanges information about schools and transportation and all that, and then they either go to mediation or to court to get their issues resolved, if they can’t do so amongst themselves.
What Are Some Pitfalls That People Need to Be Aware of When Involved in an Interstate Divorce or Custody Issue?
The most common mistake people might make is filing in the wrong state to begin with because they don’t understand the residency requirements. Doing so will not make them look very good in front of a judge who will ultimately decide things. Or if they move to a new state and file something that gets dismissed, it can look as if that person was trying to get a leg up or trying to do some gamesmanship, which would generally not be appreciated by the judge, who’s trying to look at what’s best for the child and not what’s best for either parent. So, sometimes people just don’t understand the rules and file paperwork in the wrong state, and it gets everything off on the wrong foot.
Another mistake is failing to consider a young child’s college education. If you’ve gone through a very difficult marriage and are just looking to get out, it’s understandable you’re not thinking about tuition for your three-year-old. That’s why it’s helpful to pause and consult with someone who can say, “Look, filing in this state may not help you now because there is a more modern child support calculator, but 15 years from now, you are going to be glad you did this here.” Maybe your child can now be supported longer than if you had just rushed and filed in another state. Other people presume that child support stops at 18 in every state.
Long-term effects can come from short-term decisions that people make when they are trying to get out of a marriage and do what they think is best to protect the child. That’s why an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure in this area. It’s not just the child’s next year at stake; sometimes, it’s the child’s life for the next two decades. The decisions made now affect the rest of their life.
For more information on Courts Deciding on Relocation Issues in Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (502) 512-0024 today.
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