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Can one parent move away with their children post-divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Family Law |

Families change dramatically during and after divorce proceedings. For example, at least one of the parents in the household will likely move out of the family home. Sometimes, everyone has to relocate because neither parent can afford the marital home on their own.

The schedule for the family will also shift dramatically as parents find ways to share parenting time with one another. Typically, divorcing parents find a new routine and sense of normalcy as soon as they have a temporary custody order in place. Even if the adjustment takes time, once the courts finalize the divorce, everyone will begin to acclimate to the new arrangements.

As life moves on after divorce, parents may find themselves looking for ways to improve their personal circumstances. They may look for new jobs, move into better housing or start new relationships. Any of those changes might be reason for a parent to want to relocate or move away from the area where they currently live. Is it possible for one parent in the family to decide on their own to move across the state or out of Connecticut with the children?

Move-away situations require approval

The only scenario in which one parent can unilaterally make the choice to relocate would be when they already have sole custody of the children. Most divorced parents share both parenting time and decision-making authority with the other parent of their children. They will need to cooperate with one another when making important decisions about the children.

A relocation or move-away request requires either the cooperation of the parents or the approval of the Connecticut family courts. Sometimes, both adults in the family can see that a move would be good for the children. Other times, one parent believes that the move will damage their relationship with the children and could do lasting harm. In such scenarios, the matter will likely end up back in family court. If a judge has to make a decision about one parent’s request to relocate, they will look carefully at the current parenting arrangements and the justification for the proposed move. They generally need to agree that it would be in the best interests of the children to move to a new location. Otherwise, they may not approve the relocation request.

Both those suggesting a move and those worried about one typically need to learn about how Connecticut handles contested custody matters. Focusing on the best interests of the children can help people respond appropriately to challenging situations and better develop their side of the situation for their upcoming day in family court.

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