Perhaps you just got a new job offer. Perhaps your mother was put in a home and needs someone near her. Perhaps you’ve recovered from the sting of divorce and have found new love. There are plenty of reasons to move after a divorce. But if you’re the parent of a minor, it might not be so easy for you to just pack your things and go.

Unless you can get your ex to sign off on a new plan, you may need to argue your case before the court. In many ways, this new hearing works much like a new custody case. If you want a court to agree to your move, you’ll need to be prepared.

What does the court want to see?

If the other parent—or anyone with a legal stake—objects to your intended relocation, you’ll need to show that it’s good for your child. What does that mean? It means that, as in your custody hearing, the court will look for evidence to support your claims. And this evidence will need to fit the court’s standards, not just your own.

If your ex objects to your petition, the burden of proof lies with you. In other words, the court won’t approve your request unless you can convince it the move will benefit your child. It may consider many factors, including:

  • The quality of your child’s family relationships and how the move will affect them
  • Your child’s developmental stage
  • How likely your ex will be able to maintain a relationship with your child after the move
  • How likely you are to honor your new agreement after you move out of the court’s jurisdiction
  • How the move will affect your child’s quality of life
  • Your reasons for wanting to move
  • Anything else that could affect your child’s best interests, as in the original custody hearing

It’s worth noting that the court won’t grant you the right to move just because you make a compelling argument. After you show the move would benefit the child, the burden of proof shifts to your ex, who might argue that the relocation would not be in your child’s best interest.

You want to be fully prepared

If you have a good reason to move and truly believe the move will benefit your child, you want to prepare your argument. Your first option may be to convince your ex. If you can both agree, the process is simpler, faster and less expensive.

If you can’t agree, you want to think of everything. A skilled family lawyer can help you work through the arguments that will hold weight in court.