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The challenge of relocation cases

Evan Koslow

Evan Koslow

We all have those cases where, for whatever reason, there is no “great” resolution no matter if you go to court or settle. I see a lot of these in family law cases where the emotions are as high, and it’s not always about the numbers, as the law is much more gray then black and white.

You (and perhaps even opposing counsel) may see a resolution that is fair for all, best for the family and likely better than any result either party would get in court. However, for a variety of reasons, the case just not settle. In my opinion, the most common kind of cases like these are relocation cases. No matter the reason why a parent is relocating and no matter if it is during the initial separation or a modification of custody in the future, someone is going to see their children less (or at least less frequently). This can be trying and sad for all those involved, especially when the relocation is out of a parent’s control (a military move) or when relocations are to provide a better financial stability for a parent and the family as a whole.

There are factors the court looks at when determining relocations case: the reason for the move; the age and desire of children; how involved the non-moving parent was in the child’s life; how the child is doing socially; how the child is doing in school. These examples are somewhat easy to show. What is not easy to show, however, and why, in my opinion, relocation cases are the most difficult cases, is how will the child be affected by the move — that is, seeing a one parent or other family members less or adjusting to a new hometown, among other changes. These are things that the parents and especially judges cannot predict.

Obviously, technology can make relocation a little more bearable, since children and parents can video chat and it can be quicker and occasionally cheaper to fly to certain places. But this is not the same as knowing a parent is only a short drive away or that the non-moving parent is unable to attend your extracurricular activities.

As a best-interest attorney in relocation cases, I make sure to do my best to let the parents know about these unseen effects on their children so that they can do the best (hopefully together) to help their children get through this new, exciting, difficult and scary time.

As an attorney for a parent, I provide them with services (such attending therapy) that may help both themselves and their children move through this process as best as they can.

What would you recommend to help the family get through this huge life change?

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