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"Move away" child custody cases more complicated

Divorce can already be a challenging hurdle for a family to overcome, but it is made more so when children are involved. Child custody, as many Massachusetts families can attest, can be a considerable stumbling block on the road to an efficient and mutually beneficial separation. This is particularly true in cases where one parent wishes to relocate outside of the state or even the country. Such cases require courts to consider specific elements in order to come to an equitable solution that takes the child's best interests into consideration.

The most important factor considered by judges in move-away cases is maintaining stability in the child's life. Depending on the age of the child or children in question, a court may recommend that the child stay in one place rather than uprooting them from an established life. Of course, this is also dependent on the distance of the move and the reason it is being requested.

If the move is a relatively short distance, a court may determine it is not interfering with the child's development. If, however, the move is made in bad faith (as in an attempt to interfere with the child's relationship with the second parent) the court may deny the parent the opportunity to relocate. The rules surrounding move-away cases vary from state to state - in some states, parents are not required to provide justification for a move, while in others they are. Divorcing parents may benefit from learning more about the laws and procedures in their home state.

Ultimately, it is a given that parents want the best for their children. Massachusetts families considering divorce should research the specifics of child custody laws in our state to determine the best course of action. If a move is necessary, it may benefit the child -- and the family at large -- to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Source: The Huffington Post, In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases, Lisa Helfend Meyer, Feb. 12, 2014

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