Jurisdiction is a very important issue in every divorce case. Who files first in your divorce will impact where your divorce hearings and legal proceedings are held. Where two people are located also matters greatly when it comes to sharing child custody.
Will You Be Violating the Parenting Time Agreement by Moving?
In many divorce cases, it’s not unusual for one-half of the couple to want to get out of town and start life over in a new place. When children are involved, however, relocating becomes far more complicated. And legally messy. Even if you have a great new job or have plans to move closer to (or move in with) family, changing zip codes and taking the kids with you may be impossible if your ex has a court-order giving them the right to a particular amount of parenting time.
If moving involves violating the visitation schedule and parenting time you have worked out, you could have a legal battle on your hands.
Making Changes So You Can Relocate After Your Divorce
Divorced parents move so much – they are among the most mobile of groups, according to the United States Census Bureau – that it is not uncommon for custody orders to include a provision about moving. Parents who have residential custody are often permitted to move within a certain area without the green light from the other parent. Attempt to move outside of the agreed-upon zone, however, and consent will be necessary from both parents.
There are so many variables for a divorced parent to consider when making a move. Divorce has been hard enough on the kids already. Changing your home life and moving to a different place can be even more rattling for children. Divorce comes with plenty of challenges though, and money is one of them. Financial strain and financial changes often make it necessary to downsize or alter your lifestyle and home base to fit your new constraints while still making the best decisions possible for your family.
Even if you don’t love your ex anymore, your kids still do, and forcing a separation can be difficult on all parties involved. Family courts urge divorced parents to come to a compromise about their situation before scheduling a hearing. This mediation of sorts may require some give and take, some negotiation, and some help from your divorce attorney.
Making the Most of the Modern Divorce
Compromising with parenting time so that you can make the move you want to make is often necessary. In exchange for being able to relocate to the area you wish to be in, even if it is much further away from your ex and your child’s other parent, you can offer up incentives to the non-custodial parent, such as more parenting time over the summer, long weekends, and school breaks. It may also be necessary for you to shell out monetarily, footing the bill for driving or even flying your child to the other parent for pre-scheduled visits.
For fans of modern television, a recent story arc on Grey’s Anatomy featured former spouses Callie and Arizona fighting over Callie’s desire to move with their daughter to New York City from Seattle. The two mothers could not agree and the case went to a hearing. The judge determined what was in the best interest of the child – which is what will happen in all relocation hearings – and ultimately it was decided that the child would be better off staying where she is, not moving to a new city with no established support system and a new school. Eventually, the mothers worked out the best situation for themselves, opposite of what was decided at the hearing, but throughout the battle they had to give up all sorts of details about their private lives to the court. If your relocation will help provide your child with a better life, then a court is very likely to rule in your favor, but the thought of taking such a public avenue may be so unattractive you may be more willing to compromise with your ex about parenting time after relocation.
Have questions about relocating after your Michigan divorce? Speak with a divorce attorney at Michigan Divorce Help, PLLC in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.