When a custodial parent wants to relocate with the children, they have a presumptive right to move away with the children but must provide notice of the move to the non-custodial parent. For some parents, receiving this notice of relocation is an unpleasant surprise.
Suddenly, they face losing even more time with their children. This kind of situation naturally can make non-custodial parents feel angry or even scared. But non-custodial parents have several options when the other parent wishes to relocate.
- They can challenge the move
In any case of relocation, the courts will prioritize the child’s best interest over parents’ preferences. If the move will prejudice the rights and welfare of the child, the court has the power to restrain the move.
For example, the courts might determine a move would not be in the child’s best interests if it would:
- Impair the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent
- Jeopardize the child’s relationship with extended family
- Disrupt the child’s need for stability
- Take the child out of the school district they know
- It is essential to work out a new custody arrangement
If the court approves the move, then it is necessary to renegotiate the custody agreement.
Many parents might see this as a nuisance or even a loss if their challenge to the relocation did not work. However, it is beneficial for non-custodial parents to see this as an opportunity.
A relocation does not take away a non-custodial parent’s rights to visit or parent their children. The non-custodial parent could possibly request more holiday visitations and schedule more days with the children.
- They might want to consider the benefits of virtual visitation
While negotiating a new visitation agreement, parents may want to consider including virtual visitation time with their kids.
Nowadays, technology helps make everything readily available—even our friends and family.
Technology can help parents and children maintain regular and consistent contact through:
- Text messages
- Phone calls
- Video calls
- Video or online games
Adding virtual visitation to a visitation agreement is especially helpful in relocation situations. It reduces the challenges that distance creates and helps to ensure that children maintain a relationship with both of their parents, regardless of where they live.