Parent Relocation Under Ohio Law
Relocating with the Children
Seeking or Fighting Child Custody Relocation
A parent with primary custody of children is not simply free to move away, depriving the other parent of quality time with them. That parent must get permission from a court to relocate the children, and the co-parent who would be left behind has an opportunity to object.
If custody was determined in a divorce or dissolution, the parent relocation hearing is held in family court. For parents who were never married, the parent moveaway case is governed by juvenile court. The Craig P. Treneff Law Office has experience in both forums in the Columbus area, Franklin County and surrounding jurisdictions of central Ohio. Arrange a consultation today.
Our lawyers have represented custodial parents and non-custodial parents in move-away cases. If the move is contested by the non-custodial parent, the relocating parent must petition the court, regardless of whether the move will be to the next county, the other end of Ohio, to another state or abroad. We have also handled contempt of court cases when parents relocated without court permission.
The judge will consider many factors, including:
- Proximity — The farther away, the less likely relocation will be granted.
- Motivation — An employment opportunity, job transfer or military deployment are given more credence than a new love interest or a "change of scenery."
- Parenting time — Will the non-relocating parent still have regular visitation? Is the new locale within driving distance or does it require extensive travel?
- Best interests of the child — Are there better educational opportunities in the new location? A family support structure? Cultural advantages? Are there health concerns?
The court is chiefly concerned with maintaining the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent whenever appropriate. Has that parent been active or marginal in the child's life? Do the benefits to the child outweigh the detriments? Could alternate visitation options like spending summers with the non-custodial parent be an option?
Since parental relocation is a modification of the existing child custody order, it could entail a psychological evaluation, a school match evaluation and/or appointment of a guardian ad litem to investigate the move-away from the child's standpoint and make a recommendation to the court. If the petition is granted, child support may be reduced accordingly to make up for the other parent's increased travel expenses. The court may also award additional blocks of visitation time during summer and holidays, or require phone or video contact.
From 25 years of experience in family and juvenile courts of Ohio, attorney Craig Treneff can give you an honest assessment of your situation, whether you are seeking or opposing relocation. Call 866-829-0717 or contact us online.