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A new job, relocation and the best interests of your child

You have mixed emotions about the new job your employer offered you. It is a great opportunity, but it also means relocating from Detroit to Cleveland.

This means modifying your child custody agreement for visitation with Annie, your 10-year-old daughter. Annie always looks forward to spending time with you. How will this move affect her?

Another disruption

Annie resides with the other parent, but you see her most weekends unless you are traveling, as well as on certain holidays. You also spend a good deal of time together when she is out of school for the summer. You and Annie have always been close, and she had some trouble adjusting to the new lifestyle after your divorce three years ago. The new job opportunity means another disruption to her life.

What the court considers

In any case involving child custody agreement modification, the court bases its decision on the child's best interests. The judge will consider Annie’s need for stability in her life and the fact that your relocation will reduce the frequency of her contact with you. Other factors the court takes into consideration include:

  •         The love and emotional ties Annie has to both her parents
  •         The mental and physical health of all parties
  •         The parents' moral fitness
  •         Any history of domestic violence
  •         The ability of both parents to provide emotional and financial stability for Annie

Preparing your petition

Your petition must show your reason for relocating, and the court will want evidence that supports your motivation, such as a letter from your employer confirming your new position. The court will also want to know whether you and the other parent have put together a revised parenting plan that works for everyone, including Annie. Before ordering a change to your child custody agreement, the court will want to be clear on your reasons for the modification. With legal guidance, you can create a petition the court will approve because you demonstrate that your daughter’s best interests are your priority.

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