child custody lawyer hartford

Custody and Moving Out of State: What Rights do Non-Custodial Parents Have?

You thought your marriage would last forever. Then life kicked in. Stress, money, kids – all can dissolve a relationship. The dissolution of a marriage can take up to a year (or longer) to complete in Connecticut. A divorce can be no-fault or fault-based.  Generally speaking, most divorces are no-fault which means the marriage has broken down.

If there are minor children, the first thing to be decided is who will the children live with. That person is called the custodial parent and their home is the child’s Primary Residence. The other parent is non-custodial. If there is no reason to keep the children from the non-custodial parent, a liberal visitation schedule can be worked out.

Parents can share both legal and physical custody when they choose to co-parent but if there is drug use involved or any irresponsible behavior, the custodial-parent can petition the court and allege that the children are not safe in the non-custodial parent’s custody. The custodial parent must be able to make his or her case with evidence. That might take the form of DUI convictions, auto accidents, a criminal record, or citations of any sort.

Relocating with the Child

One parent may say he needs to or wants to move out of state to take a new job or to start over. The other parent must be notified and have an opportunity to file an objection with the court.

Depending on your circumstances, a judge could prevent relocation with the child. Your physical and legal custody will be taken into consideration and the judge will focus on the child’s best interest. Are the parents financially stable? Does each parent have a relationship with the child? Is there any history of violence or drug use or mental illness? Are the parents co-parenting with the child’s best interests in mind? The judge may have to modify the custody arrangement including visitation and determine whether the move is necessary. 

At a relocation proceeding, each parent can present his or her point-of-view.

One parent may challenge the other’s real need to move and/or whether it is in the best interests of the child. Are there better educational opportunities that come with the move? Will an improved financial picture result? Does the custodial parent who wants to move have a healthy relationship with the children and will they continue to be well cared for? Will the move place an unfair burden on the non-custodial parent and his/her relationship with the child? If the child is older, his or her feelings about a relocation will be taken into consideration as well.

The Importance of Co-Parenting

All of these issues – child custody, child visitation, and child support – should be worked out between the custodial parent and non-custodial parent in a parenting plan. Not only will the children appreciate parents who can get along, but a parenting plan will save time and money otherwise spent on lawyers to fight for each side. Otherwise, the proceedings can drag on indefinitely.  

There is nothing more stressful than facing the potential loss of time with your child. The experienced attorneys at Upton Law Firm work closely with our clients and the court to provide the guidance you need to move through this difficult period of your life.

Call our office today at (860) 900-0900. You may also send us a message through our online contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.