Whether you or your child’s other parent seeks to move, there are strict rules and a meticulous process described under Wisconsin statute on relocating a child’s residence. Plus, because of the impact on the child’s physical placement and child support, additional complications enter the picture. These issues could affect your parental rights and your relationship with your child, so retaining solid legal help is critical.
At Karp & Iancu, S.C., our team is knowledgeable about the statutory requirements and steps that are necessary for child relocation proceedings. We have the experience to advocate on your behalf if you want to move, but we are also prepared to defend your interests in keeping the status quo intact. Please contact our firm today to speak with one of our Kenosha child relocation attorneys. We can provide personalized details, and some basic information is helpful.
Summary on Child Relocation Laws in Wisconsin
When there is a court order on child custody and placement, it acts as a private law that applies to the parents. There are limitations on where a parent can move with the child, so relocating would be a violation of the judge’s order. The statute offers a route for a parent to seek and obtain court permission to relocate, which is similar to requesting a modification of child custody. Note the following points about child relocation:
- The geographic threshold for legal action is 100 miles. If a parent is moving to a location less than this distance, there is no need for legal action.
- When parents already live more than 100 miles away, a party wanting to relocate does not need to file a motion. However, the parent must provide written notice to the other at least 60 days before moving with the child.
- If parents live less than 100 miles away, a relocating parent who wants to move more than 100 miles triggers the specific procedure. Such a situation is a material change in the arrangement that requires the court to consider the child’s best interests, though there may not be a change to custody.
Moving More than 100 Miles with the Child
A relocation of a significant distance requires the parent to follow the process established by statute, which starts by filing a petition with the court. The petitioner must state details regarding the move, including the date, new address, reason for relocation, and proposal on a new child placement schedule.
The parent who seeks to relocate must serve this petition on the other parent. As the respondent, the non-moving party has the opportunity to object to relocation. When making decisions on child relocation, there are multiple factors a court will review to render a decision. They include:
- The best interests of the child, a series of considerations described in the statute;
- Whether the proposed move has a minimal impact on the current placement schedule or will impose significant adjustments;
- The extent to which the non-moving parent has or has not exercised placement rights; and,
- The presence of abuse or domestic violence.
Strategies for Resolving Child Relocation Issues
The rules on moving with a child are strict, but keep in mind that there are options for addressing the situation when one parent seeks to move. Parents can agree on the relocation issue, though court permission will still be required because of how a move will impact child custody, placement, and support. A judge will review the agreement to ensure it serves the child’s best interests and meets other requirements under the child relocation statute.
Another option that parents may consider for resolving relocation is mediation and, in fact, the court may order it. Mediation is an out-of-court proceeding that is less formal than a trial and which aims to get the parties closer on agreement. A professional mediator oversees the process, and this person is specially trained in facilitating productive conversation between parties involved in a family law dispute. Mediation is not binding, so you can still take a child relocation petition to court.
When agreement is not possible and mediation did not produce a satisfactory outcome, it will be necessary to go to a contested hearing on child relocation. This proceeding is a trial, in which the judge will review all evidence by the petition and objections by the respondent. The court applies the law to the facts to make a decision, so you have less control over the outcome.
Legal Process for Relocating with a Child
Karp & Iancu, S.C. represents parents who seek to move with a child, but we will be at your side if you are the respondent who objects. Our Kenosha child relocation lawyers will support your needs by:
- Gathering evidence to support a petition to move;
- Discussing settlement options with the opposing party;
- Preparing the petition, along with all supporting documentation;
- Reviewing a petition that you received and developing a strategy based upon your goals;
- Representing you at mediation on the issue of child relocation;
- Drafting a written agreement based upon the results of mediation;
- Entering all required orders in court when the parties agree or resolved issues through mediation;
- Preparing your written response if you object to the child relocation petition; and
- Advocating on your behalf at a contested hearing on a parent moving with the child.