If you’ve just finalized a child custody case in Virginia, relocating is typically the last thing you want to think about. But maybe you’ve realized that you can’t afford the house you’re living in and have no choice but to downsize, or maybe your former spouse has announced that they’re moving halfway across the state. Whatever the case, how can you make the decision that’s best for your child?
What to consider during a relocation case
If one parent is moving a significant distance away from the other, both parents will have to figure out a new child custody agreement. Typically, the judge will rule in favor of the parent who’s staying in the same house so that the child won’t have to deal with another major life change. However, that’s not always the case.
A judge might rule in favor of the parent who is moving if they can prove that relocating is in the best interests of the child. For example, they might point out that moving to a city would give them better job opportunities, which allows them to give their child a more comfortable lifestyle. Moving to a new area might also put them closer to the child’s family members.
According to family law, the judge makes the final decision, so both parents will have to argue their case in court if they want custody of the child. The judge might grant the non-custodial parent visitation rights so that they can still see their child at various times throughout the year. If you’re the non-custodial parent, you might have to figure out a new parenting plan that gives you extended visits with your child.
Will relocating benefit your child?
If you’re thinking about relocating, you might have a lot of questions about the process. You can’t just leave whenever you want; you’ll have to negotiate a new parenting plan with your former spouse. A divorce attorney may help you negotiate this plan and present proof in front of a judge that relocating is in the child’s best interests. The attorney may also assist you if you’re the non-relocating parent.