How New York Courts Handle Requests for Relocation


When parents divorce, the ruling judge is tasked with deciding how physical and legal custody, visitation, and child support will be awarded. These judgments are made to reflect and protect the child’s best interests at the time of separation based on the parents’ current circumstances. If a parent is given primary custody, but later chooses to relocate, they may need to revisit the courtroom and have the parenting schedule reevaluated.


When a parent wishes to move their child a significant distance away from the other party, they must provide the stationary parent with written notice of their plans to relocate. If they oppose the move, the noncustodial parent has the right to file an objection with the court. By doing so, a hearing will be scheduled in which a judge has the authority to determine whether the move is in the best interest of the child.

The Hearing

At the hearing, both parents are typically asked to testify. In making their decision, the court will consider:

  • The ability of the noncustodial parent to arrange for regular visitation
  • The effect the move will have on the frequency and quality of visits between the child and noncustodial parent
  • The emotional, educational, and financial impact of the move on the child
  • The reason for the other parent’s objections
  • The reason for the parent’s move
  • The relationships each parent has with the child

If the move is not deemed to be in the child’s best interest, the other parent may be named the primary custodian in order to allow the child to maintain the life they’ve built at home.

Whether you’re defending your right to relocate with your child or fighting against your spouse’s plans to move your child away, Empire Law can help. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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