If you need to relocate after going through a divorce, you may be wondering how a move could affect your custodial or visitation rights. The circumstances that were in place at the time of the divorce decree may change, but getting a move approved by the courts could be highly complex. A Washington DC family lawyer can help you better understand the impact a move could have on your parental rights.

An experienced family lawyer would advise you regarding how to best proceed with initiating a custody modification based on a move. An attorney can also explain the laws governing these types of cases and what standards must be met in order for the court to approve your relocation.

Factors That May Impact a Court’s Decision to Approve Relocation

As soon as a parent determines the need to relocate, they should first speak with former spouse to inform them of the impending move. Ideally, both parties can reach an agreement regarding how visitation would look after the move and present the changes to the court for approval.

In some cases however, the relocating parent’s former spouse may not consent to the move. A Washington DC attorney can walk the individual through the relocation process and provide skilled legal assistance in pursuit of a favorable decision by the court. There are a range of potential factors that could ultimately impact a court’s decision to approve or reject custodial changes due to a party’s relocation.

The court would examine the proposed relocation in light of the best interests of the child when determining whether to approve a move. As such, the court could consider factors such as the distance between the parent’s future and current residence, the reason for the relocation, as well as the economic capacity of the parents to share custody with one another. The court may also look at the relationship between the child and parents as well as other close members of their family, how integrated the child is in their current living situation and school, whether any options are available besides relocation, and the parents’ contribution to their child’s life when reviewing a relocation case.

Overview of Custodial Arrangements in Washington DC

A family attorney in Washington DC can help the parent seeking to move understand how a modification could affect their preexisting custodial arrangements. When the parents of a child file for divorce or legal separation, they may determine custodial arrangements themselves to be approved by the court, or if a consensus is not possible, submit their case before a judge to decide on a custody plan.

Custody is separated into two types: physical custody and legal custody. The parent who has physical custody describes the child’s physical schedule and with whom the child will reside, while a parent who has legal custody is able to make important decisions for the child, such as where they will go to school or what religion they will practice, as well as medical decisions. Parents may share both types of custody, one parent may have sole physical and legal custody, one parent could have physical custody while the other has legal custody, or the other way around. Courts favor joint legal and joint physical custody so long as both parties are fit parents.

A Washington DC Family Attorney Could Assist with Your Case

If you are seeking to relocate and amend the custodial arrangements outlined in your divorce decree, it is important to hire a qualified Washington DC family lawyer to assist with these proceedings. An attorney can help parents seeking relocation changes as well as those objecting to relocation requests submitted by their former spouse. Contact a Washington DC attorney today to set up your initial consultation.