When West Virginia parents have a custody and visitation agreement, relocating with the child can create a conflict. If the parents do not agree, they might end up in court to try to convince the judge why the move should be approved or not. The court’s decision will be based on the best interests of the child, the reason for the move and a variety of other factors.
The child’s best interests and the reason for the move
When relocation is considered, the best interests of the child will be a determining factor in the outcome. Most child custody decisions will be based on maintaining a child’s physical and emotional stability, familial relationships and overall health. However, these will usually also need to be balanced with the reason for the move. If the reasons are considered good faith reasons, such as moving for a better job or educational opportunity or better quality of life, the court might look favorably on the move. However, if the move is seen as a bad faith move, such as to keep the child away from the other parent, pay less child support or punishment for the divorce, then the court might not approve the relocation petition.
Other factors involved in the decision
The court will also consider additional related factors. These include:
- The child’s wishes regarding the move
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- The ease of continuing visitation
- The distance of the move
- Options besides moving and the financial impact of the move
If you are a parent who wants to relocate, you should first let the other parent know. If you both agree, your lawyers can draft an order of consent to submit to the court. If you disagree, you can try mediation. If that fails, you will need to request the court’s permission for the move by filing a motion.