Moving to a new home after getting divorced is a way to start fresh in a new place, without all of those bad memories which come with the house. However, there are a lot of issues which come with relocating with children during a divorce. Here are some of the important things to keep in mind.
Try Not to Relocate Until After the Divorce
If it can be avoided, try not to relocate until after the divorce is finalized. The judge will always put the welfare of the children first, and you might even not be awarded custody if your ex argues that your move shows you don’t have the best interest of the children at heart.
Gather Evidence as to Why the Move Will Benefit the Children
Each state has different rules regarding what is in the best interest of the child in regards to relocation during a divorce. Even in the same state, judges can interpret situations very differently. If you absolutely must move, then you better be able to give evidence as to how the move will benefit the children. It isn’t enough to say you will be getting a higher salary. Some ways that a child could benefit from moving are:
• Better schools
• More benefits from the new job
• Family members in the area of the new home
• Reduced need for babysitter
• Higher salary will improve conditions of life (again, prove why – the pay increase isn’t reason enough!)
You Will Feel Guilty
No matter how many good reasons you have for moving, you will at some point feel guilty for uprooting your children and relocating. And your friends, family, and the judge will also contribute to these feelings of guilt! Some will say you are only doing it to spite your ex, and don’t have the best interest of the child at heart. Before you let the guilt overwhelm you, remember that there is no winner in the situation. It is always going to be a trade-off between your child’s immediate needs and your need to move on. Try to think of the longer-term picture, as the pain and confusion of the divorce will eventually pass.
Come Up with a Parenting Plan
If you are moving far away from your ex, then you obviously won’t be able to do weekly visits. You will have much more luck getting approval by the judge for the relocation if you can come up with a good parenting plan – such as visitations during certain holidays and during school breaks. Try to talk to your ex about the arrangements and maybe your ex won’t even contest the move.