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When a divorced parent moves away

Despite the best intentions of Massachusetts parents to remain in close proximity to one another for as long as their children are minors, there may be reasons one decides to move, including wanting to be nearer a new partner. However, even if the parent only moves a half hour away, this still represents a significant increase in commuting time for driving the child back and forth. If the relationship between the two parents is still contentious, the parent who has not moved might respond by simply refusing to keep driving the child.

However, when parents see this primarily as a conflict between them, they may forget the effect it can have on their child, who might get less time with the other parent. A better approach would be for the parents to work toward a compromise. A mediator may be able to help parents come to an agreement about how to handle the change.

The child might even wish to live with the noncustodial parent after the move. If this is feasible and parents agree it is in the child's best interests, there might be a change in child support.

However, many of the conflicts that arise between divorced parents about their children do not involve custody issues and modifications in support. Parents might instead argue about bedtimes for children, vacation time and when children are allowed to meet parents' new partners. These are not issues that necessitate a return to court, and many of these issues can be covered in the parenting agreement. Parents may also find that mediation is helpful in putting this agreement together. In fact, during this stage of the divorce, parents might learn conflict resolution skills that they can use later as well.

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