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Are move-away cases in children's best interests?

Family law judges are bound to settle child custody disputes with the child’s best interests in mind. When a parent is either compelled or chooses to move a significant distance away from the child’s current home, this situation is considered to be a move-away case. And whether or not child custody and visitation arrangements have been set prior to the move-away, this significant change in location can inspire questions about whether the move is in the child’s best interests.

Move-away cases can be frustrating for co-parents who need or want to move and for co-parents who are concerned that the move will harm their child in some way. After all, work, love, necessity and a host of other motivations can prompt adults to want to move. And as an adult, one can reasonably expect to move when one wishes to. However, if the move will harm the affected child’s relationship with one or both parents or will otherwise harm the child’s best interests, it may not be possible for one co-parent to move without incurring consequences from a family law judge.

In certain cases, a judge may order that the child should live with the co-parent who is not moving. In other cases, the judge may order a revised parenting time schedule for both parents. The possible ways that a family law judge may react to move-away cases are practically endless.

Therefore, please think carefully before moving your child away from his or her other parent. Please consult an experienced family law attorney before making your move, especially if you believe that your co-parent may bring a move-away case into the court system as a result of your decision to leave.

Source: The Huffington Post, “In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases,” Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 12, 2014

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