It is not unusual for people to want a new start after divorce and so, parental moves are very common.
People can generally move for any reason they want after a divorce. However, when there are children involved, the law in Wisconsin does limit your ability to move to certain areas. Generally speaking, when a parent wants to move more than 100 miles away with a minor child, they must obtain approval from the court. Sometimes, the court must also modify the custody and placement order. If you wish to move with your minor child, it is important to speak to our Brookfield child relocation attorneys first.
Petitioning the Court to Move More than 100 Miles
If you want to move with your minor child, but the relocation is less than 100 miles from the child’s current primary residence, the law does not place any restrictions or requirements on you. On the other hand, if you and your former spouse both have physical placement and you want to relocate further than 100 miles away, you must file a motion with the court. Within your motion, you should include:
- The date of the intended move
- The location of the intended move, including the state and municipality
- The reason for the intended move
- A new placement schedule proposal, which outlines where the child will live throughout the year, as well as the costs of transportation and the party responsible for paying those expenses, and
- A request to change the current custody order, if necessary
You must also send your former spouse a copy of the motion as well as an Objection to Relocation form. The other parent has five days before the hearing date to formally object to the move. After the motion is filed, the court will schedule a hearing within 30 days. If you wish to object to a proposed move, this deadline is very important.
Parents who currently live more than 100 miles away from the child’s residence do not have to file a motion with the court if they wish to move. Still, you are required to send written notice to your former partner at least 60 days before you relocate. The notice must include your new address, as well as the date of the intended move. Always keep a copy of this notice for your own records.
Objecting to a Move
When a parent objects to a relocation, it is usually because they do not want their relationship with the child to be negatively impacted. Moves that only involve relocating to a nearby town or city likely will not interfere with the relationship between either parent and the child. When a move is more significant, such as when one parent wants to move out of the state entirely, the relationship between the non-moving parent and the child could certainly suffer.
If you wish to object to a move, your first step is to fill out the Objection to Relocation form. You should receive this after your former spouse files their motion with the court. Within this form, you must outline the reasons for your objection. You will also need to propose a placement schedule in the event that the court approves the relocation and include this with your objection.
You must then file the Objection to Relocation with the court at least five business days before the court hearing and serve a copy to your former spouse. You must also attend the court hearing and make arguments against the relocation. It is critical that you attend any court hearing that is scheduled. If you do not, the family law judge will likely approve the relocation motion and rule in your former spouse’s favor. Our Brookfield child relocation attorneys can represent you during this hearing and give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Temporary Relocation Orders
Any time one party objects to a move, the court will set a hearing within 60 days. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem for the children involved. The guardian ad litem investigates the needs and wants of the child and acts as their voice during proceedings, as children do not have the capacity to fight for their own rights in court. The court may also order the two parties to try and resolve the dispute during mediation.
While the relocation motion is pending in court, parents are generally prohibited from moving. Still, if a judge finds the move is in the child’s best interests, they may issue a temporary order allowing the move. The temporary order will remain in place until the judge has resolved the motion. It is not uncommon for judges to change a temporary order into one that is permanent and so, if you are against the relocation, you should also strenuously object to a temporary order.
Factors Considered During Relocation Disputes
When making a decision on a relocation dispute, family law judges will take many factors into consideration. These are as follows:
- Whether the non-moving parent has spent their court-ordered time with the child and if they have not, their objection likely will not prevent the move from occurring,
- Whether the moving parent wants to relocate to stop abuse, including stalking, perpetrated by their former spouse,
- The impact the move will have on any placement schedule, and
- Whether the move is in the child’s best interests