After the pain of a divorce, many people wish to move far away. A divorced spouse in Los Angeles, for example, might dream of moving to New York or even overseas, to start over. Clean the slate. Begin a new life. For adults without children, the decision to move is entirely up to them.

If there are children of the marriage, however, things are not so simple. In situations where one parent is the primary caregiver and the children live with that parent, the court will likely allow the move-unless the opposing parent shows that the move would sufficiently prejudice the best interests of the children to deny the relocation of the children. Among other things, the court will also try to determine the children’s feelings toward their parents (depending of course on their age and the circumstances unique to their situation). If the children lack a relationship with the non-custodial parent, a move will probably not affect their interaction with this parent all that much. On the other hand, if children share a strong bond with the non-custodial parent, the proposed move may be something that is NOT in the children’s best interests. In situations where the parents share custody, and the children spend significant time with each parent, the court has to determine which custodial arrangement would best serve the children’s best interests.

To reach a decision in move-away cases, the court may order a child custody evaluation or investigation, which is conducted by an expert in the field. The court examines the evaluator’s report, along with a variety of factors, including the distance of the proposed move, the reasons for the move, the parents’ ability to communicate, and the children’s ages. In this way, courts work to safeguard the interests of children following a divorce. If you have further questions about a move-away case call the attorneys at Feinberg & Waller for further information.