Life will inevitably go on following your divorce in New York. Part of that may include you needing (or wanting) to relocate. That can cause complications if you have custody of your kids. Often, the issue of relocation will be addressed in your custody agreement. Yet if it is not (or you find yourself needing to relocate for family issues or business), what are you to do? Many come to members of our team here at Robert G. Smith, PLLC with this same question. Like them, you may be concerned that your decision to relocate could negatively affect your custody situation.
You typically need to inform both your ex-spouse and the family court that has jurisdiction over your case of your intent to relocate well in advance of it actually happening. If your relocation will impact your ex-spouse's visitation rights, then the court will evaluate your case to determine whether you have a good reason to move. According to the New York City Bar, factors that it will consider include:
- The quality of relationship your kids share with both you and your ex-spouse
- If the relocation would cause strain on the relationship with your ex-spouse or other siblings not living with you
- How much your kids' lives may be improved financially, emotionally and scholastically by the move
- If your kids and your ex-spouse will be able to maintain their relationship by simply modifying their visitation
Your ex-spouse can oppose the move, yet the court will also consider their motives for doing so.
Keep in the mind that the court typically will not forbid you from moving; it can, however, modify your custody agreement to better accommodate your ex-spouse (even to the point of allowing them custodial time). More information on post-divorce relocation can be found here on our site.