If a divorced parent wants to relocate with their child after divorce in Topeka, KS, state law requires that both parents must agree to the move. If the other parent objects, the two divorced parents must go to court to determine whether the move suits the child’s best interests or if the move would infringe upon either parent’s rights under their custody agreement.
Relocation is a sensitive issue for divorced parents. For the relocating parent, the move could feel like an opportunity for a fresh start and the chance to provide their kids with a better life. For the non-relocating parent, the situation can feel like their child’s other parent is stealing their child from them or preventing them from exercising their parental rights. Whether you are the one planning to move or your spouse has notified you that they intend to relocate, you need to know the legal statutes that will come into play in these situations.
When You Want to Relocate With Your Child
Many parents consider moving when they have new job prospects, want to live closer to extended relatives, or if they believe their current area isn’t the best place to raise their children. If you have a custody order and intend to relocate, it is vital that you follow Kansas statutes pertaining to relocation with a child custody order. If you violate the terms of your custody order in any way, you put your custody rights at risk.
Kansas state law has strict notification requirements you must follow if you intend to relocate or take your child out of the area for more than 90 days. You must notify the other parent at least 30 days prior to your intended relocation. Additionally, you must notify them in writing and send the notification via registered mail with a return receipt request. If you fail to follow state law when providing your coparent with notice of your relocation, you risk facing contempt of court.
The family court system of Topeka, KS takes relocation very seriously. If you intend to permanently move and take your child with you, you must be able to provide a very convincing argument that establishes your evidence that the relocation would suit your child’s best interests. If the court does not agree that the relocation would serve your child’s best interests, then you must make a choice between abandoning your plans to relocate or going through with the relocation and relinquishing some of your custody rights to the other parent.
When Your Coparent Intends to Relocate
If your child’s other parent notifies you that they intend to move, this can be an incredibly distressful experience. However, it is vital to know your rights and legal options in this situation. First, you must ensure they provided you with notice correctly under state law. Next, you should consult a Topeka, KS family law attorney to help you determine if they have made a strong enough case to prove that their relocation suits your child’s best interests. The Topeka, KS family court consistently upholds that children fare best when they have equal access to both parents. If the proposed relocation would diminish your custody rights, you have the right to argue against it.
When the court hears a relocation petition, they must assess whether the move suits the child’s best interests, what effects the move will have on the parents’ custody rights, and what financial impact the proposed move will have on both parents. If a proposed relocation would place an undue burden on the other parent and diminish their custody rights, the court is unlikely to approve it.
Determining a Child’s Best Interests
When the Topeka, KS family court hears a relocation dispute, the judge overseeing the matter will evaluate several factors to determine the best interests of the children that will be affected by the relocation, including:
- The child’s preferences. If the child is old enough to convey their preferences intelligibly, the judge will consider their statements in good faith.
- The preferences of the child’s parents. Both parents will have the opportunity to convey their wishes and expectations regarding custody and their child’s residency.
- Family relationships, such as those with siblings and extended family members that will be impacted by the proposed relocation.
- How well the child can adjust to a new home, new school, and new community.
- The parents’ willingness to respect one another’s parental bonds with the child.
Put simply, if you are worried that your spouse can simply pack up the kids and move away with no repercussions, there is no reason to worry about this under Kansas state law. Unless you have no legal or physical custody of your children, you have the right to object to their proposed relocation.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Relocation Dispute
When your ex has notified you that they intend to move and take your kids with them, this can be an incredibly stressful experience. It’s vital to seek legal guidance from an experienced Topeka, KS family law attorney as soon as possible so you can approach the situation with confidence. Your attorney will likely begin by evaluating the other parent’s proposed move and helping you understand how, if approved, it will affect your existing custody and support order. Once you know how things will change if the relocation goes through, you will have a better idea of how to best proceed with addressing the situation.
Your attorney’s priority will be to establish the best interest of your children in regard to the proposed relocation. Your attorney will help you gather evidence and testimony from relatives, neighbors, and other parties if necessary that can help the court understand how the relocation will affect your children. The attorney can also help you propose an alternative custody agreement that allows your ex to relocate while granting you greater custody rights, allowing your children to remain with you.
Ultimately, if you are worried that your ex is going to move away with your kids, the best thing you can do is to reach out to an experienced Topeka, KS family law attorney as soon as possible and discuss your concerns.