What Happens when one Parent Moves Out of State after a Divorce

A divorce can be tough on both spouses, especially since both of them have to start a fresh life. But it’s even tougher for the kids, considering they won’t have the pleasure of seeing their two parents living in the same house. The situation is a little bit more bearable when the divorcees have found a middle ground with regards to sharing custody as well as the divorce-associated costs. But what happens when one parent decides to move out of state after a divorce?

When one parent – either the custodial or noncustodial parent moves out of state, it can potentially add strain to the already tricky child custody situation, reason being; it forces the children to have a long distance relationship with their parent. When a parent relocates to another state, he or she places emotional and physical distance between him/herself with the children. A couple of visits in a year may cause the parent-child relationship to lose its closeness.

If the custodial parent is wanting to relocate, the move has to either be permitted by court order or agreed to by the other parent. If possible, it’s better for the parents to work things out, and for the moving parent to explain to the other why they are moving, and the plans to ensure the other gets enough time with the children.

A custodial parent may want to relocate for a range of reasons. However, if the court establishes that their move is inspired by the desire to disrupt the other parent’s parenting time, the move may not be approved. While the custodial parent still has the power to move, they won’t be able to move with the children. A parent that’s attempting to deprive the other of parenting time could lose their rights to child custody and even end up paying for support.

Relocating to another state is only permissible when it’s in the “child’s best interest.” In Ohio, the court considers a range of factors in determining whether parental relocation is in the best interest of the child, including:

  • The quality and nature of the child’s relationship with parents and siblings as well as other people in their life
  • The child’s age, needs, and development and how the move is likely to impact their development
  • The feasibility of maintaining the relationship with the remaining parent
  • The reason for each parent for wanting to or opposing the move
  • The impact that the domestic abuse may have on the child or parent wanting to move

The moving parent has the burden of proof. They are responsible for showing the court that the move is in the best interest of the child. However, the opposing parent can also have the burden of proof to show the court that the relocation isn’t in the child’s best interest. Either way, it’s critical for the parent with the burden of proof to work with an experienced lawyer, like those from Lawrence Law Office in Ohio. Relocation cases are incredibly complex, and a single mistake can have long term consequences.