Geographic Relocation

If the custodial parent wishes to relocate the residence of the children, the Court is obligated to consider many factors but ultimately the final decision must be based upon the best interest of the children.

Previously our court system has various standards to follow in order to determine the priority of allowing a parent to relocate with the child away from the visiting parent.

There is now only one standard and that is what is in the child's best interests.

There are multiple factors for the trial court to consider and in 1996, our Court of Appeals, the highest court of the State of New York, in the action of TROPEA V. TROPEA, guided the trial courts in deciding the issue of relocation by, "in all cases, the court should be free to consider and give appropriate weight to all of the factors that may be relevant to the determination. These factors include but are certainly not limited to each parent's reasons for seeking or opposing the move, the quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and non-custodial parents, the impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child's future contact with the non-custodial parent, the degree to which the custodial parent's and child's life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the move, and the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-custodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements."

The court went on to state, "in the end, it is for the court to determine based upon all of the proof, whether it has been established by a preponderance of the evidence that a proposed relocation would serve the child's BEST INTERESTS."

Accordingly, every time a parent requests permission to relocate a child, that parent must establish, to the satisfaction to the court, that the proposed geographic move is in the child's best interests.

I will discuss in detail this area of the law with you in a personal consultation, which I will arrange for you at your convenience at my Brooklyn or Staten Island office. My consultations are usually thirty (30) minutes in duration but can be longer if necessary.