Metairie Child Relocation Attorney
Whenever parents divorce or separate, the most difficult and emotionally charged aspect of the proceedings is determining where the children will live. Many hours are often spent in negotiations and mediation in order to work out a custody and visitation arrangement that provides the best possible result for both parents, and for the children. Unfortunately, changes in jobs, loss of a lease, or other circumstances may cause a parent to change locations. Louisiana law recognizes the importance of maintaining relationships between parents and their children after divorce and sets forth certain requirements for parents seeking to relocate with their children.
Certain notification rules apply if a child is to be relocated outside of Louisiana, or more than 75 miles of the child’s principal address. For purposes of child relocation laws, the principal address is defined as:
- The address designated as the child’s principal address by order of a court.
- If there is no court order, the address agreed upon by the parents as the child’s principal address.
- If there is no court order or agreement by the parents, the address where the child has resided for the six month period prior to the proposed relocation.
Relocation notification rules apply when:
- The proposed relocation is outside of Louisiana.
- The relocation is more than 75 miles from the child’s principal residence if a current custody order is in place.
- If there is no custody order in place, and the proposed relocation is more than 75 miles from the residence of the other parent.
- If no principal residence has been established, or when the parents share equal physical custody if the proposed relocation is more than 75 miles from the residence of the other parent.
The parent intending to relocate a child in any of the above circumstances must notify the other parent at least 30 days before the proposed move. If no objection is made by the other parent, the relocation may proceed. If the other parent objects to the relocation, the, moving party must get permission from the court before making the move.
Consult a Family Law Attorney Before Moving
If you are planning to move with your child, you may save yourself a lot of trouble if you talk to a Metairie child relocation lawyer before making the move. Moving without following the proper procedures may have serious consequences:
- The court may order you to move back to your previous location, or closer to the other parent
- The court may order you to pay the legal expenses of the other parent.
- The court may revise your custody arrangement.
- If the other parent says that they do not object to the move, make sure to get a written confirmation.
What To Do If You Object To a Move
First, talk to an experienced child relocation attorney. If the other parent has not given you the required 30-day notification, you may request that the court block the move, order the other parent to pay your legal expenses, and/or change the custody arrangement.
If the proper notice was given to you, you must file an objection to the move within 30 days of receiving notice. The other parent must then ask the court for permission to move, and a hearing will be held, at which you will be given a chance to present your reasons for objecting to the move.
It may be necessary to act quickly if you find out about a proposed move at the last minute. An attorney can help you request an emergency order preventing a proposed relocation until a full hearing may be held.
How Will A Court Determine Whether To Allow A Relocation?
The Louisiana child relocation statute enumerates the factors that a judge must consider when determining whether to approve a request for relocation. These factors include:
- The relationship of the child to both parents, and the extent of the patents’ involvement in the child’s life.
- The impact of the proposed relocation on the child’s life, taking into account the child’s age, the effect of the move on the child’s physical or emotional development, and whether the child has any special needs that would be affected by the move.
- The need to preserve a good relationship between the child and the objecting parent, considering the financial circumstances of the parents, and the logistics of maintaining the relationship after the move.
- If the child is old enough or mature enough to make a decision, the court will consider the child’s opinion.
- The prior conduct of the moving parent, and whether there has been a pattern of behavior either to encourage or prevent the other parent from maintaining a good relationship with the child.
- The impact that the move will have on the child and the moving parent, financially or otherwise.
- Th reasons stated by each parent for requesting or objecting to the move.
- The moving economic circumstances of both parents, and the effect of the proposed move on the employment or economic status of the moving parent.
- Whether the parents have fulfilled their obligations involving support and division of marital property.
- Whether it is feasible for the objecting parent to relocate.
- Whether either parent has a history of violence or substance abuse.
- Any other factors that the parties may present that affect the child’s best interests.
While the court may consider the feasibility of a move by the objecting parent, the court may not consider whether the objecting parent actually intends to relocate if the relocation of the child is approved.
Contact a Metairie Family Law Attorney Today
Whether you are a custodial parent who wants to move to a better location, or a non-custodial parent wanting to maintain the best relationship with your child, the decision to relocate a child may have a significant impact on your family. Attorney Candice Bennatt represents custodial and non-custodial parents in the Metairie area, and will being the experience and compassion that your case will require. Call her today at 504-777-3500.