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Relocation after a divorce

Connecticut couples dealing with divorce proceedings may find themselves wanting to make a new start, which sometimes entails a move. Child custody and related decisions can make proceedings emotionally and logistically difficult, and when a custodial parent seeks court approval for moving away with the child, the situation may prove even more challenging. Such a move with a child often requires court approval, with a determination based upon the best interests of the child.

Courts tend to evaluate moves on the part of the custodial parent for a number of factors. For one, it's important to check and see that the move is in good faith, and not intended to separate the child and the non-custodial parent. In addition, courts need to ensure that the stress and upheaval of the move is outweighed by its benefits. For instance, if a parent moves somewhere in order to obtain a better-paying job in an area with a good school system, the move may be looked at more favorably.

Distance is often considered as a factor as well. A shorter-distance move may come under less scrutiny because it is less likely to cause disruption, while a longer-distance move is examined more closely because it may damage the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. In some states, children who are old enough may be allowed to indicate their preference on which parent they'd rather live with. They also can state whether or not they prefer to move.

A custodial parent who has an opportunity to relocate may wish to speak with an attorney with experience in family law. The attorney may be able to assist the client in helping the court make a favorable determination.

Source: The Huffington Post, "In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases", Lisa Helfend Meyer, February 12, 2014

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