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Child custody and parental relocation

When parents who live together choose to divorce or split up, one parent often moves out of the family home to a separate dwelling. While this is certainly a practical choice in most cases, it may seriously impact future custody decisions. If you recently moved out of the home where your child lives with his or her other parent, or if you are weighing it as an option, be sure to consider how this may affect your custody negotiations.

When a judge considers a custody case, he or she primarily has concerns about the best interests of the child and maintaining that child's status quo to minimize suffering and the mental burden that the divorce or separation process causes. If you choose to leave the home, this speaks volumes to the judge, potentially harming your custody case.

If it does not harm the child to do so, a judge will generally try to keep the child in the home where he or she currently lives, to avoid unnecessary disruption. By leaving the home, you may signal that your child's other parent is more capable of providing and caring for the child.

It is also possible that you may leave your home and take the child with you. In this case, a judge may take this as an indication that you are trying to protect your child from dangers within the home. The effects of leaving your home during difficult times is all contextual, so you must consider the relevant details carefully.

Protecting your rights and privileges as a parent is never easy during divorce. You must take time to wisely consider all your actions before you take them, to ensure that you do not unintentionally act against your own best interests or the interests of your child. By building a strong divorce strategy using all your available legal tools, you can work toward protecting your own rights and keeping your child safe during this difficult season.

Source: FindLaw, "Getting Custody FAQ," accessed June 01, 2018

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