A number of our blogs over time have discussed the “how to” of a good faith relocation. Unfortunately, sometimes a parent gets blinded by the desire to move and loses sight of the fact this may not be in the children’s best interests; and he or she may provide very little or no notice and relocate. This blog addresses the potential remedies to stop or challenge a custodial parent’s relocation with the child by the non-custodial parent.
When the custodial parent provides timely notice of relocation, the non-custodial parent can object in one of two recognized ways. The first is to file a motion to prevent the relocation or contest it. Secondly, as relocation may not be in the children’s best interest and a substantial change, the non-custodial parent may file a motion to modify custody. Doing so necessitates a hearing and the relocating parent must prove “that the relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason.”1
If this showing is made, the burden shifts to non-custodial parent to demonstrate that the proposed relocation is not in the best interests of the child. If the non-custodial parent establishes his or her burden, trial court’s often give the relocating parent the choice of relocating and custody being modified to non-custodial parent or staying put with custody remaining the same. This is because the move is a substantial change that will occur allowing this type of ruling.
In rare cases, a custodial parent just moves. There are a number of legal tools to force the return of the child until the matter can be heard. This generates ill-will between parents and is not looked upon favorably by courts. Ultimately, moving without notice may in itself be a substantial change in circumstances to allow modification of custody to the non-custodial parent.
Ultimately, Indiana trial courts are provided with a great deal of discretion by the Legislature to meet a child’s best interests. This is particularly the case with relocations of any distance. Thus, a non-custodial parent has as many rights to challenge the relocation if it is not in the child’s best interests and is done for spite.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle challenges to proposed child custody relocations as well as represent clients who desire to relocate with their child. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. This blog post is written for general educational purposes; it is not a solicitation for services or legal advice. It is advertising material.