A “move-away” case, also known as a “removal” case, involves a situation where one parent desires to move out of the city or state that they live in with their child, leaving the other parent behind. In all such cases, a court order approving the move must be granted before the moving parent can relocate, unless the parent left behind provides written permission.
Move-away and removal cases are notoriously difficult to win no matter the circumstances. Out of all cases that are heard by family law judges, these cases are the most difficult because the judge is forced to make a decision that separates a child from one parent.
Parents that desire to relocate should follow these four tips to provide them with a better opportunity for success in their petition to move out of the city or state with a child. Of course, the law varies from state to state as to what is required for a court to decide to allow a move, but these tips are intended to generally apply to every circumstance.
Your case is going to be decided by a judge who is a human being. Notwithstanding the fact that most states have statutory or case law that requires a find that a move is for a good reason and there is a better opportunity for the child in the proposed destination, judges will scrutinize why a parent wants to move and thereby separate a child from a parent. If the moving parent just wants to move closer to a boyfriend or girlfriend, for example, good luck getting a judge to permit the move. If the move is to allow the parent to be closer to family or for a better paying job, the chances of success increase.
Most states have specific factors that every judge must consider when presented with a move-away petition. Know what these factors are ahead of time so you can be sure that you have solid and convincing arguments for each factor. Most courts generally consider the following factors:
Every state and every courthouse varies in the procedural process for a move away or removal case. Some courts require an independent investigation and report before making a ruling, which is usually conducted by a child psychologist or other similar professional. Other courts require an evidentiary hearing where oral testimony is taken before a move is even considered. Some courts require mediation. Whatever the case may be for the courthouse and judge assigned to your case, understand the procedure. It can take months or more than a year to complete a move-away case, which is an important consideration if you have a timeline for moving.
Because move away cases are extremely difficult, and the law for every state has incredible nuance, it is always advisable to seek the help of an expert in the field. If you don’t have the funds to hire a family law expert to represent you in your case, hire an attorney familiar with