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Parental relocation can be a tough child custody issue

Getting a child settled in the wake of their parents' divorce can be a heavy undertaking for the parent who has primary physical custody of the child. The emotional toll that a divorce imposes on a child can be significant, as can be the difficulties associated with managing a new living arrangement and visitation schedule with the child's noncustodial parent. It is often the continuity of staying in their same school, keeping up with their same activities and visiting with their same friends that helps kids work through the challenges of their parents' divorce.

However, in some cases a custodial parent may have to throw an additional complication into their child's life. If the parent is asked to relocate for their job or must move for another commitment, they may fear that the upheaval will have negative effects on the child. While their concerns are likely well founded, the parent should also be prepared to face challenges from the child's noncustodial parent.

It is often a requirement that the noncustodial parent grant permission to the custodial parent before they and their shared child may move. If the parents cannot come to an agreement about the relocation, they may have to go to court for a hearing on the subject. A court may decide if the move serves the child's best interests, and if it does not, if a change to the child's custody plan should be made.

Many factors can play into whether a court will decide a move is appropriate for a child under a child custody plan. The distance of the move, the reason for the move and the child's connection to their home and community can all influence an outcome on this subject. However, as all family law matters differ in terms of legal dilemmas and factual circumstances, it is important the readers consult with their own divorce and family law attorneys about the possible outcomes they may face if they plan to relocate with their kids.

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