Clients often inquire about relocating with their kids inside or outside the State of Connecticut for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons include:
- They can't find a job;
- Lost a job;
- Have no family in the area and are struggling to balance job and kids;
- Don't feel it is affordable to live in Fairfield County or even Connecticut;
- Don't want to raise kids in this area for any other reason; and
- Father does not visit the kids on regular basis.
Connecticut General Statutes Section 46b-56d is the controlling statute for relocating. The first question a person thinking of relocating should ask is "does my separation agreement specifically address the issue?" Many times the parties include in their separation agreement a mandatory notice requirement to the other parent before relocating and describes geographic restrictions on moving. If you have one the procedure must be followed. If there isn't one and you move without getting court permission then you could be forced to undo your move. If you go to court the first question the court will ask is "would such relocation have a significant impact on an existing parenting plan? If the answer is no then the court will not reach the merits of the issue as there is no impact on the parenting plan. This may seem obvious but oftentimes an ex-spouse's objection is more about power or vindictiveness rather than a negative impact on the parenting plan. This finding allows a court to nip such objections in the bud without a need for the following considerations.
If the court finds the relocation will have a significant impact on the parenting plan then the relocating parent shall bear the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that (1) the relocation is for a legitimate purpose, (2) the proposed location is reasonable in light of such purpose, and (3) the relocation is in the best interests of the child.
In determining whether to approve the relocation of the child[ren] the court shall consider, but such consideration shall not be limited to: (1) Each parent's reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation; (2) the quality of the relationships between the child and each parent; (3) the impact of the relocation on the quantity and the quality of the child's future contact with the non-relocating parent; (4) the degree to which the relocating parent's and the child's life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the relocation; and (5) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements.
If you are thinking of relocating call Bayer & Black, P.C. at 203-762-0751 and speak to one of our attorneys to discuss helpful strategies before taking any action, or for more information on this subject or any other family law needs you may have.