Custodial Parent’s Reasons for Relocation
Key Points
  • Either the parent is asking to relocate with the child for economic purposes or for personal reasons. The personal reasons cannot be to harm the child, the relationship with the non-custodial parent and child, or to get back at the non-custodial parent.
  • There are very valid reasons to ask for a relocation including being closer to family for support; health issues; pursuit of education or job opportunities; remarriage; or to simply improve the quality of life for the parent and child.

Possibly the most important of the relocation factors is the custodial parent’s reason(s) for the proposed relocation. As discussed in Part II(B), several jurisdictions require the prima facie showing of a legitimate or good-faith reason for the proposed relocation before the best interests of the child will be considered. Even jurisdictions that do not require such a showing generally consider the motives of the parents underlying the relocation as factors in determining the best interests of the child. While it would be impossible to catalog all possible reasons, there are several that arise with great frequency in relocation cases. A representative list of what constitutes a legitimate or good-faith reason for relocation is set forth in Dupre v. Dupre, 2004 WL 1698336 (R.I. 2004).

"(1) to be close to significant family or other sources of support, (2) to address significant health problems, (3) to protect the safety of the child or another member of the child’s household from a significant risk of harm, (4) to pursue a significant employment or educational opportunity, (5) to be with one’s spouse or domestic partner who lives in, or is pursuing a significant employment or educational opportunity in, the new location, (6) to significantly improve the family’s quality of life. The relocating parent should have the burden of proving the validity of any other purpose." Section 2.17(4)(a)(ii).

Id. at *14 (quoting Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution, A.L.I. ch. 2, 2.17(4)(a)(ii) (LexisNexis 2002)); see also W. Va. Code 48-9-403(d)(1) (2004) (adopting A.L.I. principles).

These reasons can be divided into two categories economic and personal. Legitimate economic reasons arise when a proposed relocation conveys a financial benefit on, or causes the economic improvement of, the custodial parent and include employment and educational opportunities as well as the opportunities of the custodial parent’s new spouse. Legitimate personal reasons, on the other hand, convey no direct financial benefit but, instead, increase the custodial parent’s quality of life or emotional well-being. These benefits include the advantages of relocating near family and moves designed to facilitate remarriage. Generally, courts are more swayed by economic reasons, finding that improvements in the custodial parent’s economic circumstances tend to more directly accrue to the child than any increase in the custodial parent’s well-being for personal reasons.

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
How to Win Child Custody How to Win Child Custody
This is not your basic child custody book like most you will find in a bookstore. This book is for people who are in the middle of a custody dispute or feel as though there is a possibility of one in the future. This is a resource for those parents who are fighting for their rights and/or custody of their children.

Download Now

Recent Related Blog Posts
    All Child Relocation Blog Posts

Related Article Archives
Child Support
Custody & Visitation
    All Article Archives

Related Categories
Children & Divorce
Collect & Paying Child Support
Men's & Father's Rights
Parenting Through Divorce
Women's & Mother's Rights
    All Categories
Related Forums
Child Custody
Child Removal
Child Support
Domestic Abuse
Men's Rights
Women's Rights
    All Forums

Resources & Tools

Bookstore Promotion Discount

Start Your Divorce Online Start Your Divorce
Several Options to Get Started Today.
Divorce Tools Online Divorce Tools
Keeping it Simple to Get the Job Done.
Divorce Downloads Download Center
Instantly Download Books, Guides & Forms.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Books
Over 100 of the Best Divorce & Custody Books.
Negotiate Online Negotiate Online
Settle your Divorce and Save.
Custody and Support Tracking Custody Scheduling
Make Sure You Document Everything.
REAL ADVANTAGE THEORY -- The courts apply the logic of what is called the "real advantage" theory, which holds that a move that is good for the parent is good for the child, for example, when it is in conjunction with a career move or a new marriage. The defense for the estranged parent would be to prove to the court the move is more detrimental to the child's future than any advantage gained by the custodial parent.

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Online Custody Tracking

Online Custody Tracking

Custody JunctionTMallows you to schedule, track and monitor current and future custody, visitation, and support arrangements. You can develop and share a detailed parenting calendar, track all scheduled and non-scheduled parenting events, and generate valuable statistical reports for personal or legal use.


Online Parenting Plans

Online Parenting Plans

3StepParentingPlanTM uses cutting-edge online software to create your Parenting Plan. Using a smart question-and-answer application, 3StepParentingPlanTM gets you a fully customized Parenting Plan in a little more than half of a lawyerÕs billable hour.


Featured Download Interstate Enforcement of Support: A Short Primer on Federal and Uniform Law

Interstate Enforcement of Support: A Short Primer on Federal and Uniform Law

Interstate Enforcement of Support: A Short Primer on Federal and Uniform Law

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site