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How to Relocate with Kids After Divorce

On September 15th, 2012, George Conde returned home to find his family missing. His wife, Tiffany Conde, had abducted their two-year-old son Aiden, and fled the state of California. Working with the police, investigators and his attorney, George eventually found his wife and child hiding out in Alabama. After a grueling three months, George was reunited with Aiden, and police arrested Tiffany on charges of child abduction and kidnapping.

Custody issues are often a messy matter. This is especially true when out-of-state relocation (removal) is on the table. When a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent disagree about an out-of-state move for their child, the court has the power to intervene. In some jurisdictions, the court may allow the removal for any party with legal custody of a minor child, as long as the relocation is in the best interests of the child. The party seeking removal has the burden of proving that the relocation meets this standard.

In deciding whether removal is in the child’s best interest, a trial court should hear all the relevant evidence. A determination is usually made on a case-by-case basis, based on the following factors:

  • The likelihood for enhancing the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and the children
  • The motives of the custodial parent; e.g., whether the removal is merely a ruse intended to limit the non-custodial parent’s access to the child
  • The motives of the non-custodial parent in resisting the removal
  • Whether the removal will make it impossible for the child to maintain a healthy and close relationship with both parents, as well as other family members
  • Whether a realistic and reasonable visitation schedule can be reached if the move is allowed

If the judge finds that the move is in the best interest of the child, then the judge will issue an Order of Removal, and the parent and child can legally move out of the state.

When dealing with removal disputes, you may need legal guidance. Protect your rights and contact a knowledgeable attorney for assistance.

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Paul Chatzky
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About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
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About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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