NAVIGATING THE OFTEN ARDUOUS PROCESS OF RELOCATING WITH CHILDREN AS DIVORCED PARENTS

BY NICHOLAS A. PEDERSON, ESQ. AND JESSICA A. TERMINI, ESQ.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases where a divorced or divorcing parent is seeking to leave New York and relocate with his or her children over the objection of the other parent. In New York, most child custody and/or divorce agreements include some form of relocation clause. For example, many agreements have what is referred to as the “25-mile radius clause.” This clause states that the custodial parent cannot move 25 miles from the current residence without seeking court permission.

More stringent, however, are clauses that force the custodial parent to remain within the state or borough. Even if an agreement is silent in regards to relocation of the child, the relocating party must petition the court for approval to relocate with the child when there is no consent from the non-custodial parent.

The courts apply the “best interest of the child” standard in relocation cases. Factors the court must consider in determining whether relocation is in the child’s best interest include, but are not limited to, (1) the involvement of each parent in the child’s life; and (2) the amount of visitation actually exercised between the child and non-custodial parent.

Although with vaccination and other measures bringing the virus more under control in New York City, the looming Delta variant may continue to drive more parents into court with applications seeking approval to relocate with the children. For this reason, it is anticipated that more relocation litigation is on the horizon.
If you are a parent with a desire to relocate and are unable to obtain the consent of the non-custodial parent, this process can be long and grueling but it is not necessarily impossible. Whether you foresee palm trees, or the other side of the Outer Bridge Crossing in your future, there are many relevant factors the courts may take into consideration in deciding whether or not to permit relocation. Discussing your options with an experienced matrimonial attorney before making the move can be the difference between success and failure.

Angiuli & Gentile, LLP, Attorneys at Law
1493 Hylan Boulevard / aglawnyc.com / 718.816.0005

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