Disputed relocation cases can be difficult. If you are the custodial parent seeking relocation, you have to prove to the court that relocation is in the best interests of your child, following the 11 statutory considerations the court must use to decide whether to allow relocation. So, how do you prove your case?
Neutral third party witnesses, like a court appointed guardian ad litem, parenting coordinator or psychologist, can provide valuable testimony about the child’s relationship with each parent. Often, however, a parent can’t afford the costs of these witnesses and must rely on other evidence to support a relocation request.
Current school records of the child and evidence that the proposed new school for the child is as good as or better than the child’s current school can be helpful. Current teacher testimony about the child’s level of adaptability to a new school environment can also support your relocation request. Evidence showing the child’s out of school activities and the availability of similar activities in the proposed new location are similarly helpful to the court.
Visual evidence can also be powerful. Consider providing the court with photographs of the child’s current residences with each parent and photographs of the child’s potential new residence. Photograph albums of family get-togethers with relatives and friends in the proposed relocation area can provide the court with visual support for the relocation. Testimony from relatives and friends living in the proposed new community can also help the court determine whether the child’s best interests are served by permitting relocation.
Evidence of the opposing parent’s substance abuse, child support arrearages, domestic violence or lack of involvement with the child can make the court’s relocation decision easier. Providing the court with a proposed time-sharing plan that is reasonable and workable for both parents, and supportive of a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent will assist the court in ruling in your favor.
If you are considering moving more than 50 miles away with your child, consult with an experienced family lawyer to discuss the legal requirements for completing such a move.