Since your divorce, you have been working hard, focusing on your career while guiding your children through school. Things have been tough, but you have been happy. In fact, your company just recognized your effort and wants to promote you. There is just one catch — this new opportunity requires you to move out of Kentucky with the kids.
For single parents, Kentucky law does not limit where or when you move. If your children’s co-parent is still in the picture, though, the state courts might weigh in. Understanding how a court makes its ruling will help parents make their case and do what is best for the family.
The court looks out for the best interests of the children
Even if you have “residential custody” over the children, you must inform their co-parent about your intent to move. If the co-parent agrees, the court does not have to get involved and you are free to work out arrangements between yourselves. If the co-parent disagrees, Kentucky courts may decide the issue.
Never move away without notifying the co-parent or the courts. A judge can order your return and penalize you for your actions. Depending on the circumstances and your willingness to communicate, the courts might charge you with parental kidnapping.
If your case ends up in family court, judges always consider what is in the child’s “best interests.” A judge will consider the following factors:
- The child’s wishes, if they are old enough to express them
- Each parent’s wishes
- Relationships between the children and their family members
- How comfortable the children are in their current community
- All involved parties’ mental and physical health
- Evidence of domestic violence or abuse
Additionally, a judge must examine the context of the move. They will consider the distance of the move, reasons for and against, the difficulty the Kentucky-based parent will have maintaining a relationship with their children, and if the harm caused by the move outweighs the advantages.
Each case presents a unique situation
Every contested case of child relocation will require that each spouse speak truthfully about very personal subjects. Most parents will secure help from a local lawyer to build their case and fight for their parental rights.