Family Law Watch: Potential Risks in Litigating Move-Away Cases During or After Divorce

Before requesting a move-away either during or after a divorce, there are potential risks a parent must consider.  In weighing the benefits and risks, consider the following:
1. Less Time With Children:  
If a parent seeks to move to get away from the other parent, and that motive becomes obvious, the moving parent exposes himself/herself to a change in custody to the other parent, giving the moving parent less time with the children.  The moving parent should think twice about filing a move-away motion if the primary goal is to create distance between an ex-spouse and the children.
2. Psychological Damage:    
Parents should consider the long-term psychological impact a move may have on the children.  Prior to solidifying plans to move, it is important to look for signs of stress and anxiety in the children, and to consider the long-term effect a move may have on the children and their bond with the other parent.
3. Money and Time Spent:
A move-away motion is not a quick and easy process.  Frequently, individuals may find themselves in limbo as they wait months before a hearing can take place.  During this process, attorney’s fees and costs can escalate quickly while discovery is being completed and professional opinions are sought. 
A parent who is considering a relocation should seek legal counsel before any life-altering decisions are made.   It’s helpful to know in advance what the risks are before proceeding down a route from which it may not be easy to turn back.  Adequate preparation can be critical in whether a request to relocate with minor children is ultimately granted.