Once a divorce is finalized, both sides are free to move on, which usually means new relationships and potentially new locations. Americans relocate an average of 12 times in their lifetimes, most of the time due to work or a change in career.
When there are children involved, the settlement agreement includes carefully planned custody, support and visitation arrangements that the parents have negotiated. If a career move or personal decision by one parent takes them to a new part of town or out of state, it may threaten to upset that delicate balance established and cause stressful disruptions in the children’s lives.
It is preferable to get a post-decree modification of the divorce settlement rather than relying on side agreements that parents may attempt in order to adapt to a new situation. These informal arrangements, such as weekend visitation swaps or after-school pickups, can become a spontaneous patchwork of last-minute changes that are unenforceable in family court.
How do Kentucky courts decide on relocation requests in Kentucky?
In decisions involving a change that includes a parent and/or child moving across state lines, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA, has been adopted by all 50 states and provides jurisdictional rules that govern interstate child custody disputes.
As in any matter in family law involving children, any decision to make or amend custodial determinations depends on what is in the best interests of the child and is defined by Kentucky statute. Some of these include:
- whether the custodial parent agrees to the modification
- if the custodial parent agrees to the child’s integration into the other parent’s family
- whether the present environment negatively impacts the child’s emotional, physical or mental health, and if the change of environment will benefit him
- whether the other parent is a de facto custodial parent
When making the difficult decision of modifying an existing settlement agreement that will impact parenting time custody arrangements or support payments, it is essential to have an experienced and supportive family law attorney serving the Louisville area who can help you navigate the legal complexities involved in order to get the outcome you are seeking for your children.