A recent story by Reuters detailed the challenges facing couples where both or one-half has dual citizenship.
In these cases, everything from child custody to asset division can get tricky.
Certainly, these kinds of cases present a growing set of challenges, but what Birmingham child custody lawyers know is far more common here is the increasing number of "move-away" child custody cases.
These are situations in which one parent is seeking to leave the area or even the state with the children.
This, too, presents a unique set of challenges because divorce and child custody laws can vary greatly from state-to-state. Whether the existing order stands or a new one is set may depend largely on the court that is deemed to have jurisdiction.
By their very nature, move-away cases tend to be some of the most emotionally wrought. You have one parent desperately trying to break away and start fresh with a new life with their children. And often you have another parent who is equally desperate to keep their children from being taken so far away from them.
The specifics can vary, but in cases where one parent has primary or sole custody, it may prove difficult for the other parent to challenge the move.
In some cases, a parent may not even particularly want to move, but a job offer or transfer may necessitate it. In these cases, our attorneys can make a strong case to the judge about how the move is in the best interests of the child. A parent with primary custody might lose the ability to properly provide for the child if forced to remain in their current location.
On the other hand, the parent who is planning to stay in the area might be able to make a strong case for increased stretches of visitation with the child or children, as they will be so far apart in the interim. Often, judges will see this to be in the best interest of the child so that the minor has the opportunity to form strong familial bonds with both parents.
Even if both parents agree that the move makes sense, a p0arent who wishes to relocate the child still must seek formal permission from the court. You want to make sure in doing so that you secure solid legal representation.
Some of the factors the court is likely to consider in these cases include:
- The reason for the move;
- The child's continued stability;
- The child's age;
- The distance of the move;
- The child's relationship with the other parent and extended family members;
- The child's wishes, if he or she is old enough or mature enough to weigh in on the matter;
- The child's educational and health needs;
- The child's community ties;
- The circle of friends the child has.
There are strategies that can be employed by parents on both sides of the issue in preparation.
For a parent who is seeking to move:
- First work toward negotiating a custody arrangement that gives you sole physical custody;
- In doing the above, make sure your lawyer understands that you do not want that plan to include any restrictions on your moving;
- Do your best to encourage a relationship between your child and the other parent in areas such as health care, education and extra-curricular activities; this will show your willingness to promote and protect that bond when you move, and may also put the other parent at ease;
- Conduct research on your intended moving area, such as the area you would live, the rating of area schools and overall quality of life;
- Plan to file paperwork approximately six months in advance of the move.
If you will be objecting to the move:
- Try to work out a custody agreement that gives you either sole custody or as much of a timeshare as possible;
- Work out a custody arrangement that has move-away restrictions;
- If the other parent is not abiding by your current custody plan, make sure you meticulously record this.
- Be prepared with a detailed plan for how you would care for the child on your own if the other parent does continue forward with the move.
- Meet with a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you are facing issues of child custody in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Divorce in two countries is double trouble, Oct. 24, 2012, By Geoff Williams, Reuters