How Parental Relocation Impacts Parenting Time
Here is what you should consider if you or your co-parent are planning to relocate.
When couples with children decide to separate, parenting time must be determined. Parents may mutually agree on a parenting time arrangement, get help from a mediator, or go to court.
But regardless of how parenting is determined, moving from one city or state to another presents challenges for both parents and children. A move can upend visitation schedules, school districting, and the ability to participate in extracurricular activities.
While a move is never ideal, it may be inevitable due to personal or economic factors. We know that you and your co-parent want what is best for your children. Here is what you should consider if you or your co-parent are planning to relocate.
The Court’s Role
If you are a parent subject to a parenting time schedule ordered by the Court, you cannot just decide to relocate with the children without the other parent’s or court’s notice or approval. In Ohio, the moving parent must file a notice of intent to relocate with the court. The nonmoving parent must also receive notice. Assuming the other parent does not agree, the matter is set for a hearing and the court will evaluate the move and decide whether to grant the request depending on various factors.
The primary consideration is whether the move will serve the best interest of the child(ren), which means the Court shall consider:
- The age of the children
- The relationship of the children with both parents
- The effect of the proposed move on the children’s life
- The challenges the non-relocating parent will face in carrying out the parenting time arrangement
- Educational or health needs of all parties
- Sometimes, the wishes of the children.
If the judge ascertains that the relocation may not be best for the children, there may be a need to modify the parenting time arrangement or the moving parent may decide not to move.
The Impact of a Move on Parenting Time
A move-away order granted by the court will undoubtedly affect any parenting plan. However, the situation can be managed if you work through these changes with your co-parent. For instance, if the nonmoving parent used to enjoy frequent dinners with kids, you may agree to alternating seasons. Another example may be that the other parent may stay with the children longer during the holidays to make up for the lack of routine contact.
Steps to Take if You Decide to Move
If a move is inevitable, you can prepare your family for this lifestyle shift. Here are some of the factors to consider:
- What are your reasons for moving? A new job, caring for an elderly parent, or seeking a fresh start are all perfectly reasonable intentions. However, the court still may not consider your request to move favorably.
- Will moving make it impossible to parent? While it may be fun to imagine raising your children in a foreign city, proximity to the other parent can have a major impact on their ability to parent.
- How will your revised parenting plan ensure that your co-parent has sufficient contact with your children? Regardless of where you move, maintaining the same level of parenting time may be impossible. Adjust expectations, but think through how you can protect and nurture your children’s relationship with both parents.
- Have you talked about your intention to move in with your co-parent? Rather than surprising him or her with the news, have an open discussion about your plans and work together to troubleshoot possible logistical issues.
Speak to Cincinnati Child Relocation Attorneys for Help
At Wagner & Bloch, we are ready to safeguard the rights and interests of both the relocating and non-relocating parents. Our Cincinnati child relocation attorneys will help you navigate the challenging process and offer practical solutions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.