Westport Child Relocation Lawyers
Relocation cases are when one parent desires to move with a minor child from his or her current home to a location where such relocation would have a significant impact on an existing parenting plan. Relocation cases are some of the most challenging situations in family law because unlike other family law situations, where there is room for negotiation, in relocation cases, there is often not much room for the parties to reach common ground. For example, it is often difficult to find common ground if one parent wants to relocate from Westport, Connecticut to San Francisco, California. If you desire to relocate with your minor child or if you oppose such a relocate, it is vital to have knowledgeable legal counsel to advocate vigorously for your position.
Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC in Westport, Connecticut, offers parents experienced guidance relocation cases. Our lawyers have successfully tried some of the most well know relocation cases in the Westport, Connecticut area, and understand the emotional nature of these situations and will strive to create workable solutions for you.
Relocation Under Connecticut Law
The legal standard for relocation under Connecticut law is different if your case is before judgment or after judgment. If a parent desires to relocate with a minor child after the divorce judgment has been entered by the court and such a move would significantly impact the parenting plan, the parent desiring to move has the burden of proof. Specifically, the moving parent must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that: (1) the relocation is for a legitimate purpose, the proposed location is reasonable in light of such purpose, and (3) the relocation is in the best interests of the child. In determining whether the proposed relocation is in the minor child’s best interest, the court shall consider, but such consideration shall not be limited to:
- Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the relocation;
- The quality of the relationships between the child and each parent;
- The impact of the relocation on the quantity and the quality of the child’s future contact with the non-relocating parent;
- The degree to which the relocating parent’s and the child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the relocation; and
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements.
Based on our experience as Westport child relocation lawyers, relocation cases are often decided whether the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent can be preserved. Courts have found that preserving the relationship between the non-relocating parent may be met through extended parenting access plans including the enhanced communication that is available through modern technology and longer periods of physical contact. In James v. James, the court granted relocation, reasoning “[w]ith changes in the access schedule, perhaps even beyond what was offered by the plaintiff and the use of modern communication tools, it is certainly possible for a high quality and beneficial relationship to continue.” However, if the non-relocating parent has significant parenting time with the minor child and is highly active and involved in the child’s life, it will be extremely difficult to preserve the relationship. In Varian v. Varian, the court denied the request to relocate from Westport, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts in part because no visitation arrangement could do more than substituting an equal quantity of time at the expense of a loss of quality time.
If a parent desire to relocate with a minor child before the divorce is finalized, the legal standard is the “best interest of the child.” Although the best interest factors of Connecticut General Statues § 46b-56d(b) cited above are not mandatory, their consideration by the court may be helpful and taken as guidance in deciding relocation cases before the entry of judgment.
Our Westport child relocation lawyers have substantive courtroom experience and will make a compelling claim in support of your position if this matter is brought before a judge.
Contact Broder Orland Murray & DeMattie LLC
Call 203-222-4949 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.