When a custodial parent would like to relocate, and that relocation would have a significant impact on an existing parenting plan, the moving party must show that the relocation is for a legitimate purpose, the proposed location is reasonable in light of that purpose, and the relocation is in the best interests of the child(ren). C.G.S. Sec. 46b-56d(a). Further, the court should consider, but is not limited to, the following factors: a) each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the move; b) the quality of the relationship between the child and the custodial and noncustodial parents; c) the impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent; d) the degree to which the custodial parent’s and child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the move; and e) the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements. C.G.S. Sec. 46b-56d(a).
In light of the current state of our economy, it appears as though judges may be assigning greater weight to parties’ economic circumstances, recognizing that it is becoming increasingly necessary for parties to move considerable distances to obtain (or retain) employment. Just recently, the Superior Court of New Haven (Gould, J.) permitted a mother to relocate with the parties’ three minor children from Connecticut to Pennsylvania on the basis that, among other things, the move would allow her to transition back into the work force, which the mother claimed would be necessary for her to adequately support her children, and herself.
After considering the statutory criteria set forth above, the Court explained, “Our society is an increasingly mobile one. Largely because of the instability and unpredictability of the employment market . . . repeated, separate moves by each parent are coming to represent the norm.” (internal quotations omitted) J. Wallerstein & T. Tanke [‘To Move or Not to Move: Psychological and Legal Considerations in the Relocation of Children Following Divorce,’ 30 Fam. L.Q. 305, 310 (1996)]. The Court continued, “Our family law should recognize that reality. Therefore, to serve the best interests of a child in a single-parent family unit, the custodial parent should be permitted to pursue, within reasonable limits, opportunities that could lead to a better life for the parent as well as the child.” (internal citations omitted).
Should you have any questions regarding this posting, please feel free to contact Maya Murphy, P.C. at JMaya@mayalaw.com or by telephone at (203) 221-3100.