Moving can be a scary proposition, especially after going through something as stressful as a divorce. However, a relocation can be a great way to find your dream job, live somewhere you’ve always wanted to live (such as closer to the beach or a larger city), be surrounded by family who live in another state, or find a new romantic partner.
When you have minor children, though, it’s not that easy to just pick up everything and move. You have to consider not only your children’s feelings but also the wishes of the other parent. If you have joint custody, how will both parents be able to share custody of the children if the parents don't live near each other?
Indeed, relocation poses some logistical challenges, particularly in terms of transportation. However, you still want to take this opportunity to move. What happens now? Count on the Wauwatosa child relocation attorneys at Karp & Iancu, S.C. to help you move on with your child after a divorce.
What is Relocation?
Not every move is considered a relocation. If you’re just looking to move to the next neighborhood over or even to a nearby city, then you may not have to do anything. Under Wisconsin law, a parent can move less than 100 miles away without notifying the other parent.
Anything over 100 miles, however, is considered a relocation, even if the parent is still living in Wisconsin. What this means is that you need to notify the other parent and get approval from the court. This means you cannot just assume you can move and take your child with you. This could constitute kidnapping, which could result in serious criminal charges.
There are specific rules and deadlines involved when it comes to relocation. The law also requires that a hearing be scheduled within 30 days of giving notice, so you need to act quickly.
Also, keep in mind that even a move of under 100 miles can cause logistical concerns. It can affect the custody and placement of the child, so it’s possible that you may need to modify the existing custody order. The court will assess the situation and make a determination based on the best interests of the child. If you have concerns about this, your lawyer is your best resource.
When One Parent Objects
Child custody is a contentious issue and it’s possible that one parent will object to a relocation.
Many parents have a fear that they will lose contact with their child and a major move out of state could disrupt the parent-child relationship.
When a parent objects, they are required to complete the Objection to Relocation form. You will need to provide your reasons for the objection as well as include a proposed placement schedule and a description of transportation costs and responsibilities. If the other parent is approved to relocate, this would act as your proposed schedule.
Don’t delay the completion of this form. You will need to file it at least five business days before the initial hearing and make sure the other parent is served. You will also need to go to the initial hearing and plead your case or else the judge will side with the relocating parent and accept the motion. For best results, hire a Wauwatosa child relocation attorney to represent you.
Keep in mind that a judge might grant a temporary order allowing a parent to relocate if the judge believes it is in the child’s best interest. While temporary permission lasts only until the judge resolves the motion, temporary orders typically turn into permanent ones. Therefore, if you object to the relocation, you need to start by objecting to the temporary move.
It is possible for both parents to agree to the move. If so, they can also draft a new placement schedule and present it to the court. Let the judge know that you have reached an agreement and they will usually sign off on it without issue as long as it doesn’t cause any harm to your child. The judge will also revise the custody order.
Making a Decision
If you and the other parent cannot agree, the judge will make a decision about your relocation matter. There are several things they will look at and consider:
- In the case of one parent objecting to the relocation, a judge will look to see if the objecting parent has been spending their time with the children as agreed upon. If the parent is not obeying the order, then their objection likely won’t block the relocation.
- The judge will also consider the reason for the relocation. Does it relate to abuse? For example, a mother may choose to relocate because she or the child is being abused by the father.
- The judge will also analyze how the move will impact the placement schedule. If the non-relocating parent only saw the child several times a year anyway, then a move will likely have little impact on the custody schedule.
- Most importantly, the judge will determine whether or not the move is in the best interests of the child. If not, then it won’t be approved.