When the custodial parent of a child wishes to relocate, many factors must be considered by the court to determine if the move is in the best interests of the child. Moving a child to a new state or city can change his or her relationship with the non-custodial parent, aunts, uncles, other extended family and friends.
New York courts do allow relocation of custodial parents, but only on a case-by-case basis, and it is often very difficult to prove that a move will be in the child’s best interests. Listed below are some of the factors the court looks at when determining if a move is best for a child:
- The reason for each parent to seek or oppose the relocation
- How likely it will be that a meaningful relationship between the child and non-custodial parent may be preserved through visitation arrangements
- The quality of the relationship between the child and each parent
- How the move will affect the child’s extended family relationships
- The extent to which the move may enhance the economical, emotional and educational lifestyle of the custodial parent and/or his or her child
- How the move will impact or affect the quality and frequency of the child’s contact with the non-custodial parent in the future
It is important to realize that in relocation matters, the needs of the child are granted the highest priority of the court. If it is determined that the move will greatly benefit the child it will likely be granted. Additionally, relocation will be granted if it is determined that the child may come to suffer harm by remaining in his or her current location.
Jacqueline Newman joined Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP in 1998 and is now the managing partner of the firm. Ms. Newman’s practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and also in negotiating prenuptial agreements. Read more about Jacqueline Newman.