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Courts put child first in relocation plans after divorce

Relocating after a divorce in Indiana means another big change for the child who splits time between his parents’ separate homes. But sometimes it cannot be avoided. For parents and children facing this issue, HuffPost offers several points for consideration.

  • If either parent disagrees with the relocation, they may turn to family court for resolution.
  • The child is of primary concern in family court, not the parents. A proposal to relocate must show why it is a beneficial move to both child and parent.
  • Family, friends and even the court may question a parent’s motives for relocating and make accusations of acting out of spite or revenge. Parents should weigh their motives for moving because everyone else will too.
  • Many times, a parent wants to move closer to family members who can provide a support system, or they may have a job offer with better pay elsewhere. Both parents must weigh the benefits against the impact on the child.

Indiana courts have established a comprehensive set of parenting guidelines to direct divorcing parents in a variety of issues they and their children face. Parenting time is covered, including overnight visits and holiday schedules. Courts define other expectations as well including communication, health care and educational needs.

Under state law, guidelines for relocation are straightforward. Both parents must notify the other, as well as the court, at least 90 days in advance. In addition, the parent must present specifics, such as new address and phone numbers, moving date, and a proposed change to the visitation schedule.

Custody laws have some teeth as well. Contempt sanctions may be issues, including fines, imprisonment and community service, for violation of parenting time guidelines. State laws and guidelines caution both parents to again, consider the child first throughout the difficulties of divorce and separation.