For many people facing divorce, the prospect of losing their relationship with their children is the most upsetting consideration. They may not worry so much about moving out of the marital home or splitting acquired assets with their spouse as they do about not getting to see their children as often as possible.
The good news for those considering divorce is that, in most cases, Connecticut family courts favor shared custody scenarios. Sometimes, the custody arrangements involve a 50/50 split. Other times, one spouse may have primary custody, with the other receiving fewer total days with the children, as well as an obligation to pay child support.
If your spouse seeks or has already received primary custody, you may worry about whether they can leave the state. It is natural to worry about this, but the good news is that doing so requires significant effort on the part of your ex.
Most custody agreements limit how far someone can move
When the courts create or authorize a parenting plan, it typically includes restrictions on relocation. The non-custodial parent may have the right to relocate anywhere they want, provided that they still need their support obligations. The parent with primary custody, however, typically has some restriction placed on their ability to move.
In some situations, the limit may be to a specific county, while other times it may be a certain number of miles from the initial family home or the current home of their ex. Any move that is farther away than the limits set in the parenting plan or custody agreement require court approval well in advance of the move.
Additionally, your ex will need to notify you in writing of their intent to leave the state. This provides you with an opportunity to ask the courts to stop it.
Your ex has to have a reason for moving other than getting away from you
Severing someone's ties with their children is often the revenge fantasy that people experience in divorce. Unfortunately, some people actually follow through with it. The good news is that the courts in Connecticut frown on that kind of behavior. If your ex intends to move far from where you live, they will need to demonstrate a necessity or cause to the court before receiving approval.
It's important for you, as the non-custodial parent, to realize that justification for the move can include different things. For example, if your ex has parents in another county or state, the courts may authorize them moving home with the children. Similarly, if your ex has received a job offer that is significantly better than their prospects here in Connecticut, the courts may also authorize the move.
If, however, you have any kind of documentation that indicates the motive for the move is revenge or parental alienation, the courts may intervene. In certain circumstances, they may even adjust the custody arrangement in your favor as a result of such a crass attempt at revenge.
If you know that your ex wants to leave the state with your children, you need to take action as soon as possible to protect yourself and your children from the damage such a move could cause your relationship. A family law attorney can help you explore options for staying close to your children after a divorce.