Couples with children go through standard divorce filings and custody is decided by the courts; oftentimes, in Oregon, courts order sole legal and physical custody to one parent and visitation rights to the other. In some cases, joint-custody is granted between the two parents, but it usually is given fully to one parent. After time goes by, the custodial parents may want to relocate to a different city, or state entirely. In these cases, the parent without custodial rights, otherwise simply known as the non-custodial parent, can lose out on valuable time with their child(ren). Fortunately for the non-custodial parent, there are laws in place that require the custodial parent to give notice of upcoming moves.
The custodial parent does not have to give advanced notice to the non-custodial parent and the courts if the move is 60 miles and under, as this is within a reasonable distance for the child, or non-custodial parent, to travel to fulfill visitation and bonding time. This additional travel time may, and likely would, cut into the visitation time ordered by the courts and a new agreement may need to be settled upon, either in the form of which days the child spends with each parent, or having the courts make an adjustment to the original order. Even though no notice needs to be given, it is recommended that both parents discuss any relocations.
If the relocation destination of the custodial parent is over 60 miles, they are legally bound to alert the non-custodial parent and the courts to rework the visitation time order. It is the judge’s duty to make a decision in the best interest of the child at all times which can lead to three outcomes:
- The custodial parent is allowed to move with the child
- The parent must stay where they are and cannot relocate
- The parent can move, but custody of the child will be transferred to the other parent.
If the noncustodial parent feels the relocation is a poor decision for the well being of the child, or children, they may file with the court to stop the move, which the custodial parent can then file a counter motion to allow the move. In the end, the judge, as previously mentioned, needs to rule in the best interest of the child(ren) by taking into account why the move is happening. Typical considerations include: the relationship of the child and parent(s), if the child’s quality of life improves, and/or if the parent is moving for a higher paying job.
Child relocation is a delicate and complex subject that requires the aid and assistance of a Beaverton family law attorney. If you are facing an impending move as a custodial parent and need legal backing to prove your case to the courts, we are here to help. Conversely, if you are a non-custodial parent who fears damages to your relationship with your child(ren), we are here to assist as well. Contact us today for more information.