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How do child custody relocation laws apply when a parent moves?

Life can bring many unexpected changes. Married couples in New Mexico do not get married with the intention of ending their union; however, if the couple no longer functions well together, it is likely in their best interest to get a divorce. When children are involved in the process, the divorcing parents will have to work hard to develop an appropriate parenting plan. But what happens when one of the parents needs to move? How can divorced parents re-work their custody arrangement?

The answers to these questions depends on how child custody relocation laws apply when a parent moves. Relocation laws vary from state to state regarding notice, consent and presumptions; however, because a move is likely a major change in a child's life, the best interests of the child will be considered when making a decision regarding this issue.

Express consent could be given for child custody relocation. Most states allow for this, and this occurs when there is an agreement currently in place regarding custody and a clause within the child custody plan contains a clause for express consent to relocate and a proposed visitation schedule.

Some states require a parent to provide notice to the other parent, usually in writing, regarding their intended move. This notice must be given within a certain time period, which will be specified in state statute. In New Mexico, parents are required to give a 30-day written notice stating the date and destination of the move.

Because a move could greatly disrupt a child's life, some states require more information showing that the move is necessary. Reasons that could meet this burden of proof could include better cost of living, being closer to family members, a new job offer or continuing one's education.

When a parent seeks to move post-divorce, the court will require him or her to propose a visitation schedule that will work with the other parent's schedule and meet the needs of the children involved. This means considering holidays, school breaks and vacations. Because a move could happen suddenly and unexpectedly, divorced parents should understand how best to address a relocation matter. This will ensure the needs and best interests of the children are protected.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Child Custody Relocation Laws," accessed Feb. 15, 2016

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