Relocating with a child after divorce is always a complex matter. An Appleton child relocation attorney can help you through the process so you get the most favorable outcome you are hoping for.
The Law on Child Relocation in Appleton
The law is very clear about child relocation in Appleton, and throughout the rest of Wisconsin. The law greatly limits where one can move with a child during and after the divorce process. The law is also always changing. The last time it was amended was in 2018, after the passing of the 2017 Wisconsin Act 203. This is significant because the newer law applies to custody orders that were initiated or newly modified on or after April 5, 2018.
Under the child relocation law, parents who wish to move 100 miles or more with their child after divorce must follow certain procedures. In cases that involve parents who already live 100 miles or more apart, the parent wishing to move does not have to file any documents with the court. However, they must notify the other parent in writing of their intention to move at least 60 days before they plan to relocate. The notice must inform the non-moving parent of the new address and the date the parent plans to move.
Relocating More than 100 Miles Away with a Child
Under the law, any parent who wishes to relocate with a child more than 100 miles away from the other parent must obtain the court’s permission to do so. The law states that the moving parent must only obtain the permission of the court if both parents currently have physical placement, or physical custody, of the child. When a parent does petition the court to move more than 100 miles away, they must include certain information within their petition. This includes:
- The date of the move
- The state and municipality in which the parent and child will live
- The reason for the move
- A proposal for a new placement schedule, including where the child will stay during the school year, holidays, and summers
Other requirements must be met under the statute, including:
- A request for a modification to legal custody orders, if necessary
- Notice to the other parent that they can file an objection to the move no later than five days before the hearing
- An Objection to Relocation form, if the non-moving parent wants to object to the move
Once the moving parent has filed the petition with the court, they must then serve the non-moving parent with the petition. The non-moving parent then must file any objection they have within five days. The court is required to schedule the initial hearing within 30 days after the motion is filed by the relocating parent. The deadlines and other procedures in child relocation cases are very important. The process also always has the potential to become complex. An Appleton child relocation attorney can help you through it and give you the best chance of a favorable outcome.
Objecting to a Proposed Move
Non-moving parents do have the legal right to object to any proposed move with their child. A non-moving parent must file an Objection to Relocation form, which one can obtain from their attorney or online from the Wisconsin family courts. Within the objection, the non-moving parent must provide the reason for objecting. The form must then be filled out as though the child is going to move, so it can include a new placement schedule proposal as well as which party will be responsible for arranging and paying for transportation.
Once the form is completed, the non-moving parent must then file it with the court at least five days before the first hearing. The moving parent cannot relocate with the children while the matter is still pending.
After the petition is filed, both parents must attend the initial hearing. During this hearing, a judge will hear the basics of the case. The non-moving parent must give the reason they object to the move. When making a decision on the case, the judge will only consider what is in the child’s best interests. However, if the non-moving parent does not appear at the hearing, the judge will most likely grant the petition for the relocating parent to move. If the parent that is not moving does not object at the initial hearing, the court will also likely grant the original petition for the move.
After the objection is filed and the non-moving parent has objected at the hearing, another hearing will be scheduled within 60 days. The court may also require the parties to take the matter to mediation and they will appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. A guardian ad litem represents the child’s best interests in court and will advise the court on what they believe is best for the child.
There are many requirements placed on both the filing of the petition, and the hearing. Without legal counsel, no one will inform you of these requirements or your rights, which you could end up losing. An Appleton child relocation attorney will inform you of your rights and give you the best chance of a positive outcome.