This is generally prompted by the parent’s need to take a new job or some other circumstance requiring them to relocate.
When a child is involved, however, there are specific laws that must be followed. A qualified Menomonee Falls child relocation attorney can advise you of the rules and procedures governing such moves. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we represent parents on both sides of such situations and strive to provide professional advice and guidance to hopefully ensure a minimum of disruption to the parties and their children.
When Do You Need a Judge’s Permission to Move With Your Child?
First and foremost, not every relocation involving a child needs to involve going to court. Under Wisconsin law, if both parents have any periods of “physical placement”–i.e., the child spends some amount of time living with each parent–then any move made by one parent within 100 miles of the other parent does not require any sort of judicial approval. For example, if a child spends most of their time living with the mother and she decides to rent a new apartment across town but well within 100 miles of the father, then she does not need any sort of permission to do so.
Once the 100-mile threshold is crossed, however, the parent seeking to relocate with the child must file a motion with the court. This motion needs to include a relocation plan detailing when the proposed move will take place, the city and state of the proposed new residence, the reason for the relocation, a new proposed placement schedule for things like summers and holiday periods, and how the costs of transporting the child between both parents’ homes will be allocated. The parent seeking relocation may also request a change in the legal custody status of the child.
A motion to relocate is therefore not simply a matter of informing the other parent of your plans. Indeed, the other parent has certain legal rights in these situations. Here is a brief rundown of the procedures involved in relocation cases:
- An initial hearing must be scheduled within 30 days of the relocating parent filing their motion.
- The other parent may file an objection to relocation no later than 5 days before a scheduled initial hearing on the relocating parent’s motion.
- The child cannot be relocated before the initial hearing takes place, unless the judge issues a temporary order finding such immediate relocation is in the child’s best interest.
- Even if the other parent does not object to relocation, or fails to show at the initial hearing, the judge must still determine whether or not the proposed relocation is in the best interest of the child.
- If the other parent does object and appear at the hearing, they must present their own proposal for placement and apportioning transportation costs in the event the relocating parent’s motion is granted.
- The court can order both parties to mediation to resolve the issue, unless it would create an undue hardship or endanger the health or safety of any of the parties involved.
- The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem to serve as the child’s legal representative.
- A final hearing must be held within 60 days of the initial hearing.
As with all issues involving child custody, a Wisconsin court will place the best interest of the child paramount to the wishes of either or both parents. Some factors the court will consider include:
- Whether proposed location only “minimally changes or affects” the current placement schedule.
- Whether the parent objecting to the relocation has “significantly exercised” court-ordered visitation rights.
- Whether the relocation is the result of domestic abuse.
Why You Should Work with a Menomonee Falls Child Relocation Attorney
Hiring a lawyer is often seen as an antagonistic move in child custody disputes. But that is not the case. Working with an experienced attorney simply enables you to put your strongest case forward, whether you are seeking to relocate or objecting to a proposed relocation. It is easy for these types of disputes to get emotional, which makes it all the more important you have professional representation throughout the process.