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I Want to Move — Can I Bring My Children?

The issue of parent relocation is relatively complicated, and each case tends to have a unique set of circumstances that play a significant role in the court’s ultimate decision. There are many factors that may influence the result, including the following issues.

The child’s best interests

This is the first and most important element in the court’s decision. There are many factors that play a role, including the educational and economic impacts of the move. One must demonstrate and provide proof of the proposed school district and how the children will benefit economically from the move. For instance, if a parent has family out of state and the ability for the moving parent to work and make a good living (when they make little to no money in New York), that would be a factor.

The impact on the other parent’s time is in large part one of the biggest considerations in relocation and determining whether the move is in their best interests. If a move will limit the other parent’s access to the children or the frequency that parent has parenting time, adversely affect the child’s growth and stability, disrupt established and vital family relationships, or in any way negatively impact the child’s life and well-being, the court may decide against such a custodial arrangement on the grounds that it is not in the best interest of the child. Other considerations include children’s adjustment to the new surroundings and their wishes.

The parent’s motives, fitness and prior actions

New York family courts carefully consider whether the relocating parent intends to abide by the custodial arrangement in good faith. A relocating parent needs to display an honest intent to honor the court-ordered rights of the non-relocating parent. In addition, the court will consider the mental and physical health of the relocating parent and if it will adversely affect his/her ability to care for the child. The court will also strongly consider any history of abuse, false reporting or failure to attend parent education courses.

Most states require that children be able to maintain a continued, meaningful relationship with the non-relocating parent. This often includes allowing for extended stays during school breaks and holidays. To learn more about this complex issues, work with a dedicated child custody lawyer who understands the nuances of New York law.

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