Since your divorce four years ago, you and your 11-year-old son Andy and the other parent have settled into a routine that has worked well, but that is about to change.
The company you work for has offered you a promotion, and that means relocation for you and your son. How will this affect your child custody agreement?
About court approval
If both parents agree to modify the child custody agreement, gaining court approval, although necessary to be legal, will not prove difficult. However, if there is a difference of opinion about the modification, the request becomes more involved. In your case, the other parent, who presently enjoys considerable visitation time with Andy, will not see him as often if you move to another city. Further, the other parent has concerns about Andy’s happiness in a new community and new school, having to make new friends and, in short, having to become accustomed to a whole new way of life.
Preparation is key
The court requires confirmation that modifying the child custody agreement due to your proposed relocation will be in the best interests of your son. You should prepare to present evidence for the court’s consideration that may include the following:
- Stable home environment
- Photos and other information about the new community, the new home and Andy's new school
- Evidence of your promotion, such as a letter from your employer
- Mental and physical health of the parents
- Extended family support and interaction
Prepare to explain how you and the other parent would handle visitation, and present a new schedule for consideration. You should be aware of the possibility that the other parent may raise objections during the hearing. Prepare to defend yourself and the reason for your child custody modification petition.
Confirming “best interests”
Your attorney is very familiar with child custody modification cases and will help you present your case in the best way possible to gain court approval for your petition. Your request and any evidence required will show the court that your top priorities are Andy’s best interests.