What Constitutes Relocation Under Family Law In New York?

Generally, relocation relates to the relocation of a residence of a child or children within the context of a child custody case. It means changing the primary residence of the child or children to another state - or within a state if it's beyond a certain mile radius. Sometimes, in prior orders or agreements, that mile radius is defined. Even if it's not defined, however, if the proposed move is going to change the primary residence of the child to such a degree that the noncustodial parent would not be able to exercise the same level of access time that they currently have, it would be considered a relocation.

What Are Valid Reasons To Relocate With My Child?

The overall focus of a relocation proceeding is on the best interest of the child. The focus is on whether the proposed move would benefit the child. There can be many different reasons for moving. A common example is that the custodial parent gets remarried and their new spouse's job gets transferred to another state. Or, the custodial parent's job gets transferred to another state. Often with an approved relocation, the noncustodial parent is not really involved with the child and the custodial parent wants to move closer to their family for support. If the noncustodial parent is not all that involved with the child, then that is something that the court can definitely take into consideration in whether to approve the move or not.

How Much Advance Notice Must Be Given By A Parent Who Intends To Relocate With Their Child?

There is no hard rule on how much notice must be given by a relocating parent. In New York, the person should give as much advance notice as possible simply because if the family court has to have a relocation trial, that relocation trial may take several months to reach a determination. That may mean that the custodial parent would not be able to move the residence of the child until the court makes that determination. The custodial parent should give the noncustodial parent notice of a possible or probable move immediately. Even if the custodial parent thinks that there's a possibility they may be able to remain in New York, they should let the noncustodial parent know as much in advance as possible.

What Specific Information Must Be Included In The Written Notice?

What is included in the notice depends on the particulars of the move. If the person's job is being transferred to the other state, the custodial parent would want to say that their job is being transferred on this approximate date and therefore they may be moving the residence of the child to that other state. It will ask the other parent, if they have any objection to that, to please let them know immediately, offer to work out arrangements whereby their access schedule would be expanded during school breaks, and make at least a preliminary offer that child support may be reduced to allow the noncustodial parent the ability to travel to visit with the child or children. I wouldn't necessarily put too much, in terms of specifics of a settlement offer, in that initial notice but it is advisable that it be mentioned that the custodial parent is willing to negotiate all issues to gain the consent of the noncustodial parent to the move. But again, the custodial parent is still best advised to file a petition to obtain a court order authorizing the relocation.

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