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How parental relocation impacts child custody and parenting time

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Child Custody & Parenting Time

Child custody and parenting time are two of the most complicated and difficult issues that come up in an Indiana family law case. The child is frequently trapped in the middle of the parents’ back and forth, making the situation harder.

Even when the case is complete and a custody and parenting time schedule is in effect, it does not necessarily mean the discord is at its end. If the custodial parent decides to move further away in Indiana or leave the state entirely, it can necessitate a new order. The non-custodial parent can object to the move. Under these circumstances, knowing the law is vital from the outset.

What happens if a parent wants to relocate?

The distance from where the parent previously lived is a fundamental aspect of whether they are obligated to inform the court of the move. The parent does not need to let the court know if there was a previous court order stating that they did not need to file notice. In addition, they do not need to let the court know if the relocation reduces the distance between the parents and will let the child stay in the same school.

A person who is objecting to the relocation can file a motion to prevent it so reviews can be conducted regarding the parenting time order, custody order, child support order or grandparent visitation order. The court can modify these orders at its discretion.

The court will look at the distance and how much it changes; if the move will cause hardship and greater expense for the party who is not relocating; if it is possible for the person who is not relocating and the child to maintain their relationship with sufficient parenting time; if there is an attempt by the relocating parent to prevent parenting time and other forms of contact and the reasons for the relocation and the non-relocating party protesting it.

With a parental relocation, it is important to know the law and to have help

The child’s best interests are paramount in any family law case and this will be a crucial part of how the court decides on the attempted relocation. Perhaps a custodial parent has a job opportunity, needs to move to go for advanced education or training, or wants to be near their family.

The non-relocating parent might not be able to make the longer trip and could have their time with the child reduced due to the move. Regardless of the reason, either side can ask for court assistance with a relocation. Before getting angry or upset, it is imperative to have professional help to try and deal with the case through the legal process.