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Relocation

Experienced Westport Family Law Attorneys Handle Relocation Disputes

Trustworthy representation to resolve tough child custody issues

One of the most difficult child custody issues to resolve occurs when a custodial parent wants to relocate with the children at a great distance from the noncustodial parent. Not only is the issue tricky legally and logistically, but it’s fraught with emotion. The custodial parent can feel trapped all over again, as though forced to relive the divorce. The noncustodial parent feels betrayed by a system that promised frequent contact with the children but made that impossible. And through this fog of emotion, the parents must find a way to resolve this intense conflict. Fortunately, our experienced attorneys at Needle | Cuda in Westport understand your predicament. We also understand the standards the court uses to determine these matters and the quality of evidence most judges find persuasive. We have successfully represented parents on both sides of this issue, so you can have confidence in our ability to fight for your parental rights and your children’s best interest.

Connecticut’s parental relocation statute

When a custodial parent wants to relocate at a distance that would significantly affect the existing parenting plan, that parent has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the move is in the best interest of the child. The moving parent must satisfy three elements of the law by demonstrating:

  • The relocation has a legitimate purpose — A custodial parent cannot move the children simply to frustrate the other parent. A legitimate purpose might be to take a job, be closer to a new partner, to have access to better schools, or to be closer to extended family, such as grandparents.
  • The proposed location is reasonable in light of the purpose — The moving parent cannot use the relocation as an excuse to add unnecessary distance between the children and the noncustodial parent. For example, if a new job location lies 30 miles to the east, the court would question the necessity of moving 50 miles to the east. Absent further justification, the extra 20 miles might strike the court as gratuitous.
  • The relocation is in the best interests of the child — The court examines the totality of the circumstances to assess the impact of the move on the child. The quality of the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the children is an important factor to consider.

A court can approve the relocation or deny permission by taking into consideration a variety of factors:

  • Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation
  • The quality of the relationships between the child and each parent
  • The impact of the relocation on the quantity and the quality of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent
  • The degree to which relocation may enhance the parent’s and the child’s life economically, emotionally and educationally
  • The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements

When approving relocation, the court has the authority to revisit the parenting plan to accommodate the noncustodial parent through a different child custody arrangement.

Creative solutions to relocation disputes

A relocation dispute is not always an all-or-nothing battle. Depending on the circumstances, the parents may be able to renegotiate their parenting plan and present a settlement agreement to the court for approval. A popular solution to the problem is to grant summer and holiday custody to the noncustodial parent, while the custodial parent has the kids throughout the school year. Our attorneys work closely with you to find creative solutions that fit your unique circumstances. We are adept at finding points of agreement and working from there to develop comprehensive solutions.

Contact our Westport, CT family law firm for trustworthy handling of relocation issues.

If you are anticipating a child custody dispute in Fairfield County involving potential relocation, Needle | Cuda is ready to help. We provide highly responsive service and effective representation to protect your parental rights and your child’s welfare. To reserve a consultation, call us today at 203-429-4151 or contact our Westport office online.

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