In many cases, child custody agreements don’t last forever: situations change, finances change, children change, and families change. It is normal to need to make changes to your child custody and child visitation agreements, especially if one spouse needs to relocate – these agreement changes can happen outside of court, with mediation, or with the help of a judge and lawyer.

There are many reasons you or your spouse may need to move out of a previously designated area (whether it be a school system, a county, a state, or a certain radius):

•    A spouse moves because of a new job opportunity that would benefit the family.
•    A spouse can no longer afford their neighborhood or needs to move to a more affordable area.
•    A spouse decides to move closer to family that can provide childcare and support.
•    A spouse is remarrying and relocating to be with the new spouse.

Relocation after a divorce can be hard on everyone – and making a decision on whether or not to allow a relocation and how a fair visitation plan can be created are difficult tasks. Just as with all child custody cases, relocation is decided upon depending on the best interests of the child.

For example, if a child has strong ties to a community and enjoys the school system he or she has attended since preschool, a judge may rule that the child should stay where they are thriving. However, if a child could benefit from a change of setting and from his or her parent securing a great new job, a relocation might be best for the child even if he or she may be moving away from another parent. In all cases, a judge will examine how the child custody agreement has gone so far and how each parent has been involved in their children’s lives.

All move-away situations and all child custody issues are different. If you are planning to relocate, or if your spouse has informed you that they are leaving town, talk to an experienced child custody attorney who can examine your case and help you understand your legal options.
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington