Relocation High Asset Divorce

Relocating With Children After a High Asset Divorce: What You Need to Know

Divorce can simplify many aspects of your life, but parenting is not one of them. Co-parenting is challenging, even in the most amicable and flexible coparenting relationship. When you throw in an issue like relocation, your communication skills may be pushed to their limit.

If you are considering relocation with your children, it is crucial to connect with your family law attorney before doing anything else. You must follow the correct procedure to avoid being accused of kidnapping your child. Call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-953-1424 to set up a consultation with our Birmingham, AL attorneys now.


Legal Constraints on Relocation

First, it’s important to note that you cannot simply pick up your children and move. If you are moving within 60 miles of your current address, you can likely proceed with the move after providing appropriate notice to the other parent and the court. However, if you are planning on moving more than 60 miles away or out of the state, you must plan far enough ahead to give the other parent time to contest it. This means notifying the other parent via certified mail at least 45 days in advance of the intended move.

Once the other parent receives this notice, they have 30 days to file an objection with the court and schedule a court hearing. At this point, both parties get a chance to testify. The party who wants to move should prove that the move is in the child’s best interests. The party who does not want the relocation to happen must show that staying with the non-moving parent is in the child’s best interests.


Your Parental Role May Impact What Happens Next

A lot depends on what role you play in your parenting agreement. If you and your ex-spouse share physical custody, the child is acclimated to spending substantial time with both parents. You’ll face an uphill battle when it comes to proving that a sudden decrease in time with one parent will serve the child’s best interests. It’s not impossible but be prepared for a challenge.

If you’re the child’s primary caregiver and they spend most of their time in your care, it may be slightly easier for you. Depending on how far away your intended move is, you may be able to keep them on their current visitation schedule with the other parent. Note, though, that the driving and expenses of reaching the visitation location may fall squarely on the moving parent’s shoulders.


Your Child’s Best Interests

When is a move in the child’s best interests, and when is it not? There are no cut-and-dry answers, but judges do take a number of factors into account. These factors include:


  • The child’s relationship with both parents and siblings on both sides
  • The child’s preference (only if they are old enough to voice their preference and understand its implications)
  • Travel time requirements
  • Alternative visitation options or the ability to maintain the current visitation schedule
  • Each parent’s ability to meet the child’s physical, social, and emotional needs
  • Each parent’s stability
  • How a move may affect the child’s stability and development


The reason for the move may also affect what is in the child’s best interests. A new job or remarriage are some of the most common reasons for relocation, and on their own, they are not enough to show that a move is in the child’s best interests. If one party was the high earner during the marriage, relocating for a new job may be necessary if they want to continue to provide for their children at the same level.

If not moving would mean a drastic drop in the child’s standard of living, the court may be more sympathetic to the moving parent. But if the moving parent only spends a few days a month with the child, the court may not see any reason to force the child to move with them. There are so many factors that you truly have to discuss your case with a Birmingham, AL divorce lawyer.


Considering Relocation? Discuss Your Options with Kirk Drennan Law

In general, it’s best to negotiate an agreement that meets both parties’ needs. When you allow a judge to decide, you give up control of the situation. We can help you navigate this stressful and demanding time—call us at 205-953-1424 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation now.

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