Winning Relocation Custody Cases In New York Family Court

Relocation custody cases can be exceptionally challenging for parents seeking to move to another state or country while sharing custody of their children. In New York, winning a relocation custody case requires thorough preparation, a well-documented relocation plan, and a compelling argument to convince the family court that the move is in the child's best interest.

This blog aims to provide parents with the necessary information and strategies to enhance their chances of winning New York Family Court relocation custody cases.

What is a Relocation Custody Case?

Relocation custody cases refer to situations where one parent seeks to move a substantial distance away, potentially impacting the existing custody arrangement. While many reasons for relocation are perfectly valid, including new job opportunities, remarriage, or educational pursuits, such circumstances can create upheaval for the child, resulting in a necessary legal process to protect their best interests.

Before deciding to relocate, parents who share custody should become familiar with the legal requirements in their state. In New York, parents must obtain permission to relocate by agreement from the other parent or through a court order granting the move. Neglecting these requirements can have severe consequences, including potential charges of contempt of court.

Building A Strong Relocation Case

When deciding relocation custody cases, the paramount concern for the New York family court is the best interests of the child. The court will consider several factors, including the emotional bond between the child and each parent, stability, and quality of the living environment, proximity to extended family, school, the community, and any existing preferences expressed by the child.

To win the court's permission to relocate requires meticulous planning and evidence collection. Here are some fundamental steps to enhance your chances of relocation approval:

  1. Evaluate the Impact: Conduct a thorough evaluation of how the proposed move will benefit the child's overall welfare. Consider factors like improved living conditions, educational opportunities, and increased support systems.
  2. Document the Reason: Gather evidence to support your reason for relocation. Evidence might include job offers, admission letters, or other documentation demonstrating why the move is necessary.
  3. Co-parenting History: Provide evidence showing a history of successful co-parenting, demonstrating your commitment to maintaining a healthy and nurturing relationship with the child's other parent.
  4. Proposed Parenting Plan: Develop a comprehensive parenting plan demonstrating a well-considered, child-centered approach. This plan should address visitation schedules, transportation arrangements, communication methods, and steps you will take to maintain the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child. A well-crafted parenting plan can help alleviate the concerns of the court and the other parent regarding the potential negative impacts of the move.
  5. Communication Plan: Prepare a detailed communication plan that outlines how both parents will stay connected with the child despite the distance. Highlight technological solutions like video calls or regular visitation schedules.

Gathering and presenting compelling evidence is vital in winning a relocation custody case. Evidence may include witness testimony, expert analysis, documentation of the proposed living arrangement, and details of the child's potential access to healthcare, education, and extracurricular activities.

How to Prepare and Present a Relocation Case

When preparing to present a relocation case in New York family court, parents should seek professional legal advice from an experienced custody relocation attorney who can craft a strong argument for the court. Ensure all necessary documents supporting your relocation plan and the child's best interests are organized and readily accessible.

To win an argument for relocation, the parent must present a detailed relocation plan to the court. A solid relocation plan will include the following:

  • Emphasize how the move will positively impact the child's overall well-being
  • Include details such as new schools, healthcare providers, and extended family support
  • Demonstrate your willingness to prioritize the child's relationship with the non-relocating parent
  • Suggest visitation plans, proposed holiday arrangements, and communication schedules that facilitate regular contact

During the court proceedings, both parents can present their arguments, cross-examine witnesses, and provide evidence supporting their stance. The non-custodial parent may oppose the relocation. In this case, they will present an argument centered around disproving all the positive changes the custodial parent promises in their statement. An opposing argument's key focus will be that the relocation will harm the parent-child relationship, highlighting their current closeness and the amount of time they spend together so that the court will see what a significant loss the move will create for the child.

Parents must maintain a respectful and professional demeanor throughout the process, as court proceedings heavily focus on the child's welfare. Being well-prepared, punctual, and respectful in court can positively influence the court's perception and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Winning a relocation custody case in New York family court requires strategic planning, legal knowledge, and careful consideration of the child's best interests. Parents can increase their chances of achieving a successful outcome by seeking guidance from an experienced custody relocation attorney, developing a well-crafted parenting plan, presenting persuasive evidence, and conducting themselves professionally during court proceedings. Contact our child custody attorneys today at 212.682.6222 or online.

Remember, the well-being and happiness of the child should remain the primary focus throughout the process, ensuring a smooth transition for everyone involved.


Karen Rosenthal

Karen B. Rosenthal is a partner and co-founder at matrimonial litigation firm Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield LLP, where she brings 30 years of matrimonial law experience to bear in matters involving high-net-worth equitable distribution, contentious custody battles, and other high-stakes disputes. Certified as an Attorney for the Child and a frequent speaker on topics related to children going through high-conflict divorce, she has been recognized as a leading New York lawyer by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and New York magazine.

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