Child Relocation: Defined
Relocation is relatively common. An estimated 4 in 10 American adults live in a different state than the one where they were born. People move for a wide range of different reasons—from education to job opportunities to family commitments. For divorced parents, separated parents, and other parents who have a court-ordered placement schedule, relocation can be especially complicated. The move may be subject to Wisconsin’s child relocation laws. It is crucial that you know your rights and responsibilities.
What to Know About the Child Relocation Laws in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a child relocation statute on the books (Wis. Stat. § 767.481). If you are a divorced or separated parent with young children, your proposed move or your co-parent’s proposed move may be subject to child relocation laws. Here are three key things to understand about the applicability of the law:
- Parents With Minor Children and a Court-Ordered Placement Schedule: The child relocation law only applies to parents who share minor children and currently have a court-order child placement schedule. The law does not apply to parents who are together or parents whose children are now legally adults.
- Formal Court-Ordered Placement Schedule It is important to emphasize that Wisconsin’s parental relocation statute applies only to circumstances in which there is a formalized, court-ordered child placement schedule. To be clear, this means that the statute does not apply to informal arrangements or arrangements that have not been court-ordered. It does not matter how much time a child spends with either parent—if there are any court ordered periods of placement, then the Wisconsin child relocation statute applies.
- Relocation of 100 Miles or more: Not all “moves” are “relocations” under Wisconsin law. If you move from one side of Waukesha to the other side of Waukesha, your move is not covered by the child relocation statute. It is a relocation if the intended move is at least 100 miles away from the parent’s current residence.
An Overview of the Child Relocation Process in Wisconsin
With an understanding of which moves are covered by the child relocation statute in Wisconsin, you may have questions about your rights and responsibilities under the law. The child relocation process is effectively a notice and approval process. Here is a more detailed explanation of the four key steps in a child relocation case:
- Determine Applicability of the Law: The first step in a child relocation case is determining whether or not the law applies at all. As stated previously, it applies to all cases in which parents are subject to a court-ordered placement schedule and one parent is planning on moving at least 100 miles away.
- Notice Must Be Provided to Non-Relocating Parents: The parent who wants to move must provide adequate, timely notice to their co-parent. The notice should include specifics, such as a precise timeline of the proposed move and the new location.
- New Time-Sharing Arrangement Must Be Proposed: A new child time-sharing arrangement should be proposed as part of the process. This is necessary to help ensure a smooth facilitation of co-parenting during and after the relocation.
- Court Must Approve the Child Relocation: Relocations must be approved by the court. When parents can work out an agreement on their own and are both accepting of the proposed move, then the relocation will almost certainly be approved. Though, if there is a dispute over the relocation and/or the proposed new time-sharing arrangement, a full hearing may be required.
A Collaborative Solution Should Always Be Considered
Child relocation cases are complicated. Courts generally will not “stop” a parent from moving more than 100 miles away—no matter the circumstances. Instead, a Wisconsin court could alter the terms of the custody and placement arrangement in a manner unfavorable to the relocating parent. Whether that will depend on many different factors. For parents, it is always best to consider collaborative solutions to child relocation cases. A Waukesha, WI child relocation lawyer can help you work towards a viable arrangement.
Our Firm Takes On All Types of Child Relocation Cases in Waukesha
With more than three decades of family law representation and more than 10,000 family law cases handled, our firm is qualified to take on the full range of child relocation matters in Waukesha County. Along with other types of child/parent relocation issues, we can assist you with:
- Negotiation of a revised co-parenting agreement and schedule to account for the move;
- Representation for parents who want to relocate over objections from their co-parent; and
- Representation for parents who are objecting to their co-parent’s proposed child relocation.
How Our Wisconsin Family Attorneys Can Help in a Relocation Case
Parental relocation cases are complicated. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we help families work out solutions that best suit their individual circumstances—with a strong focus on protecting the rights and interests of our clients. Among other things, our Waukesha family lawyers are ready to:
- Listen to your story and answer questions about Wisconsin’s child relocation laws;
- Gather all relevant evidence and information and handle the legal paperwork;
- Advocate for your best interests in any custody & visitation settlement discussions; and
- Take whatever legal approach is needed to help you and your family get the best results.