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Relocation with Children in Custody and Divorce Cases

In Northern Kentucky the issue of relocation has become one of the most litigated issues before the family courts.  Court rules 7(2) require that "before a joint custodian seeks to relocate, written notice shall be filed with the court and notice shall be served on the non-relocating joint custodian."  This requires not only notice to the court but service on the joint custodian.  Joint custodians should be very reluctant and careful before deciding to relocate, as the courts will often not approve a move which substantially limits the other parent's rights or time with the child(ren).  The rule further provides that "either party may file a motion for change of custody or time-sharing within 20 days of service of the notice if the custodians are not in agreement; or, the parties shall file an agreed order if the time sharing arrangement is modified by agreement.  The two cases of Pennington v. Marcum and Wilson v. Messinger are considered. The rule also requires that sole custodians provide "written notice shall be filed with the court and notice shall be served on the non-custodial parent.  If the court ordered visitation is affected by the relocation, the non-custodial parent may file a motion contesting the change in visitation with in 20 days of the notice." When dealing with relocation issues, it is important that parties discuss the case with a family law attorney who understands this specific area as there are often long term ramifications for acting hastily.  Often parties move, purchase property, or simply up and leave, believing that they have the right to move the children without the knowledge or consent of the other parent.... This may lead to extreme hardship or loss of custody. The law and the family rules regarding notice does not specify a number of miles or whether the relocation is out of state or out of the county.  Local judges can consider a move across the street to require notice.  In sole custody situations, the non-custodial party cannot object unless the relocation affects the court ordered visitation.  In joint custody situations, the relocating party has the burden of proof and there is no requirement that the time share is affected by the relocation in order for the other party to object. If you have questions about relocation, contact your attorney before making any decisions or moving.  If you need to speak to an attorney in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin for a consultation at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453.

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