In Ohio, any parent who wants to relocate with their child after a divorce must have the other parent’s consent or the approval of the court. This rule prevents parents with custody from moving hundreds of miles away and denying the other parent a chance to maintain a relationship with their children.
At Lawrence Law Office, our custody attorneys receive calls from many people who either want to move with their children or who want to block a move. it is vital that the public understand how courts will decide this issue, since it is ultimately up to the judge if the parents cannot agree.
What Is in the Child’s Best Interest?
A residential parent who wants to move with the child must file a notice with the court that granted the divorce informing the court of where they intend to move. The court will then send notice to the other parent, who can file an objection. Once an objection is made, the court will decide whether to allow the move based on what is in the best interest of the child.
A judge will look at many factors before making a decision, such as:
- The reason for the move
- How far the parent intends to move
- How involved the extended family is in the child’s life
- The stationary parent’s relationship with the child
- Each parent’s ability to communicate with the other parent
No one factor controls the judge’s decision. Instead, a judge weighs everything to arrive at a well-reasoned decision as to whether to allow or block the move.
Building Your Case to Support a Move
If you want to move with your child, what do you do? First, you should review all the factors a judge will consider and then help strengthen them so that they support your request. Remember, a judge is mostly focused on what is the best interest of the child, not what is in your best interest as a parent. You might have met the love of your life in California, but a judge might not see that as a compelling reason to let you take the child hundreds of miles away from the other parent.
It is much better to explain how the move will benefit your child. Do you have extended family in the area where you are moving? Are there better schools? With your attorney, think of how the move will actually benefit your son or daughter. Sometimes, a move that benefits you as a parent also benefits a child. For example, you might have been offered a higher-paying job, which allows for more material comfort. But the touchstone is always the child.
Second, find evidence to support your claims. A judge doesn’t want to simply hear your opinion of whether the move will be beneficial. If you think the schools are better in a certain area, find proof, such as state test scores.
Third, be open to changes in the parenting plan. A judge is unlikely to grant a move so you can cut the other parent out of your child’s life completely. Instead, your ex might get a long period in the summer where the children go live with him. You are much more likely to prevail if you can show a judge how the move will not harm the parent-child relationship.
Blocking a Move
Some of our clients want to stop a proposed move, particularly one out of state. They suspect that their relationship with their children will decline if a parent is allowed to move, and they want help convincing a judge to stop the proposed relocation.
Building this type of case requires assessing how the move will harm the child. For example, you might argue that the child’s quality of education or health care will decline. You can point out that the child will have no extended family in the area, and that it will be difficult for you to maintain contact with your child. Now is also the time to bring up whether the other parent has ever denied you visitation, since that could show a sinister motive behind the move.
Again, the focus is on what is best for your child. Work with your attorney to find compelling evidence that a move would harm your son or daughter.
Speak to One of Our Child Custody Attorneys
Child relocation cases can be time-consuming and emotionally draining. For help with your case, contact Lawrence Law Office today. We have handled multiple relocation cases and understand how judges in Ohio will decide these cases. Contact us today to schedule a confidential, initial consultation.