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The parent’s decision to move after divorce is not just his or her own decision. In fact, the court will decide whether you get to relocate or not based on what is in the best interests of your child.

Why Is Relocation a Court Matter?

When relocation is a considerable distance, it affects a number of things — parenting time with the children, the children’s school, extended family, friends and community involvement.

What Courts Consider When Deciding Relocation Cases

Various cases have come before the New York Appellate Court and rulings show there are no one-size-fits-all factors in deciding cases. Two cases the New York Court of Appeals decided in 1996 established the precedent that each case must be considered individually without “formulae and presumptions.”

In the case Tropea v. Tropea, the original custody court order prevented either parent from moving outside of Onondaga County without judicial approval. The mother became engaged to an architect with an established firm in Schenectady. She was expecting a child and wanted to relocate. She offered a liberal visitation schedule, providing frequent and extended contact and driving the children to and from the father’s Syracuse home. The father contested based on his involvement —coaching the children’s football and baseball teams, participation in religion classes and academic education involvement. The lower court denied relocation. The Appellate Court reversed the decision, finding the move to be in the children’s best interests and that the father would retain regular and meaningful access. The scheduled awarded the father substantial weekend, summer and vacation visitation with the children.

In the Matter of Browner v. Kenward, the Appellate Court also reversed a lower court’s decision, finding in favor of a mother moving to Pittsfield, MA where her parents were moving, which was 130 miles from the father’s Westchester County home. The court based its decision on the children’s best interests. The grandparents provided the children with significant support and would enhance the emotional well being of the child. The move would also reduce bickering between the parents.

Get Experienced Legal Help

Relocation can often be complicated. Attorney Chris Palermo provides you with compassionate legal guidance and can help you make the right decisions.