New York Child Relocation Frequently Asked Questions
A. You cannot just move out of the area with your child if your ex-spouse has court-ordered visitation privileges in New York. Find out if your ex-spouse will consent. Whether your ex will consent or not, you must seek the approval of the New York child relocation court. Consent will not be withheld if your ex approves, but if your ex does not consent, you will have to convince the court that relocating your child is in the child’s best interests. Check to be sure whether or not your ex-spouse agreed in any court document that you could relocate with the child.Q: How can I stop my ex-spouse from moving away with our child?
A: Check to see if you agreed in any court document regarding your ex-spouse’s ability to relocate with the child. Without such an agreement, your lawyer can petition the court for your ex-spouse to be restrained from relocating the child out of the county without permission of the court or your written permission. If your ex has already relocated with the child, your lawyer can petition the court to return the child to the county.Q. What factors will the court consider when determining if a custodial parent can relocate a child?
A. A court will look at the situation as a whole and consider these factors:
- The best interests of the child, the most important factor
- Parental rights
- Effect of the New York child relocation on the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent
- Why the custodial parent wants to relocate. Remarriage, which could provide a more stable family structure, a better job and an educational opportunity may all be considered good reasons.
- Why the noncustodial parent opposes the move. Is there an ulterior motive such as revenge or does the parent simply fear loss of access and a relationship with the child?
- Possible harm if the court refuses to approve the move
- Economic impact of the move
- Any medical or health reasons the parent may advance for requesting the move either for themselves or the child
- Possibility that the noncustodial parent may want a change in custody
- The practicality of a change in custody including reviewing the child’s relationship with both parents
- The strength of the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent
- The strength of the relationship between the child and the community. This is going to be more important for older children.
- How the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent could be maintained and what sort of visitation might be arranged
- How the relocation would affect the child’s quality of life. The judge will consider economic, emotional, educational and social factors.
- How the relocation would affect the relationships the child has with extended family
A. A court will weigh the opposition of a noncustodial parent very heavily, but a New York court my still allow a move even in the face of such opposition. If the child will clearly have a better life both because of economic, social and family reasons in the new location, the court will consider the best interests of the child first. A court also looks favorably on a custodial parent who wants to move but is flexible and generous regarding visitation rights to the child.Q. My ex wants to take my child and move far away. Can I get custody?
A. If it appears that the best interests of the child may be best served by the child remaining in the area, a judge may ask the noncustodial parent if they are interested in custody. Even if the judge does not ask, if you would like to have custody, discuss this with your New York child relocation lawyer.