When a couple walks out of the courtroom with a “final divorce decree,” it may seem to be set in stone. However, when there is a showing of a material and substantial change of circumstances it can be possible to modify a decree in the areas of child custody, visitation and support. One parent may want the court’s permission to relocate, move out of state, with the parties’ child due to a change in jobs, remarriage, health or other family or financial circumstances. The other parent may oppose this relocation. Relocation will necessarily affect issues of custody, visitation and support.


A parent has a constitutional right to move, but not necessarily with the minor child. If you believe it is in the best interests of the child to relocate with you, you may petition the court for permission to do so. This may be difficult if the other parent disagrees and intends to contest your petition. We can help you demonstrate to the court that your child’s best interests will be served by the proposed move.

With forethought, parents can preserve the parent-child relationship despite geographic distance. If relocation is granted, the court will often grant to the non-relocating parent most of the child’s non-school time.

If your child’s other parent proposes a relocation and you wish to contest the petition, you should talk to an attorney who will advocate strongly for your position. At Atkinson & Kelsey, P.A., we understand the importance of a parent’s frequent contact with a growing child.

Regardless which side of a potential relocation you find yourself, a relocation case can be a costly proceeding, especially if the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent your child or if the court appoints a mental health professional to conduct a custody evaluation.
Mediation may provide a workable solution.

Concerned about child relocation? Call the attorneys at Atkinson & Kelsey at 505-883-3070, or write us using this online form.