When a custodial parent in a child custody proceeding requests a move away order from the court allowing him/her to move away a significant distance such that it would interfere with the noncustodial parent’s visitation and his/her contact with the children, this is commonly referred to as a move away case. A move away case is one of the most difficult cases for the family courts to hear because the request by the custodial parent to move away with his/her children often has a negative impact on the amount of time and frequent and continuous contact the children will have with the noncustodial parent. Some jurisdictions are permissive in how they rule on move away cases and other jurisdictions are more restrictive.
States in which the statutory language and case law pertaining to move away cases is more permissive may result in having more permissive rulings on move away cases. In such states, there may be a strong presumption that the parent that has primary physical custody of the children has the right to move away with the children and the burden to prevent the move away rests squarely on the noncustodial parent to make a showing that the move away is done in bad-faith or the move away would be detrimental to the welfare of the children. Further, states that are more permissive in how they rule on move away cases may not require the custodial parent to show that the move is expedient to the child’s welfare or even necessary. In other words, if the move away is good for the custodial parent, then the move away is presumed to automatically be good for the children. As a result of such a high burden being placed on the noncustodial parent to prevent the move away, affecting a move away case has become the perfect battleground for some custodial parents to alienate the noncustodial parent from his/her children.
In other jurisdictions, the statutory language and case law pertaining to move away cases may be more restrictive and a higher burden is placed on the custodial parent seeking a move away order to demonstrate that the move away is in good-faith, necessary, expedient to the welfare of the children, and/or in the best interest of the children. In such states, rulings regarding move away cases may result in more restrictive move away decisions.
Overall, move away cases often have an all or nothing feel to them, especially for the noncustodial or left-behind parent. A move away case can change a child’s relationship with the left behind parent and it may never be the same as a result of a move away. A move away case is not about whether or not the parent can move away, it is about whether or not the parent can move away with his/her children. If you are seeking a move away order or trying to prevent a move away order you would be wise to consult an attorney to find out if your jurisdiction is more permissive or restrictive in how they rule on move away cases.
© 2007 Child Custody Coach
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