If you're reading this post, you probably have a custody or divorce case and you're likely asking 1 of 2 questions:
1: Can I move?
2: Can my ex-spouse move?
In custody cases, moving away from the other parent has a serious impact on the family dynamic. But in the age we live in, it's important for people to have the freedom and flexibility to follow opportunities that may come their way. The court tries to balance these two competing interests. However, I would say that it has given slightly more weight to the second consideration. Allow me to explain.
The law in Arkansas says that a custodial parent's decision to relocate (or move) is presumed to be in the best interests of the child. It will be up to the non-custodial parent (the parent with visitation) to show otherwise. There are 5 considerations that the judge will look at:
- (1) the reason for relocation;
- (2) the educational, health, and leisure opportunities available in the new location;
- (3) the visitation and communication schedule for the noncustodial parent;
- (4) the effect of the move on the child’s extended family relationships; and
- (5) the preference of the child, including the age, maturity, and the reasons given by the child as to his or her preference.
If a parent is moving away solely out of spite, or without any job prospects, or is just trying to take the child away from the other parent or from family, then they can probably be prevented from moving. If, however, they are moving to be with family or moving for a good job, the court will likely allow it. The judge will look at the opportunities in the new location, the prospects for visitation, the family the child is moving to or leaving behind, and in some cases, what the child wants. He or she will take all of these things, and more, in consideration in order to determine if the move is in the child's best interest, and what the new visitation schedule should be.
Note: If you have joint custody and are wanting to move, it's a whole new ballgame, buddy. You better get in to see me.
If you want to relocate, or you would like to prevent your spouse from relocating, a good attorney can make a big difference. Call Leslie today for a consultation to discuss your particular situation.