Relocation cases are taken very seriously in the state of Virginia. There are a number of important considerations that either parent should take in their relocation case.
If there is no custody order enforced, a parent may relocate with their child as they see fit, without having to inform the court. This will not be considered parental kidnapping as the court has not assigned custody to either parent.
If a custodial parent is considering relocation, he/she must inform the other parent and the court before the move by at least 30 days. If the non-custodial parent disagrees, they may request that the court deny the relocation. In this situation, a judge will study the case and the terms of custody and visitation before deciding to allow or deny the relocation of the child.
To increase the chances of winning the relocation case, a parent should review the case from the judge’s point of view. In this way, they can prepare for any questions asked, or proof required by the judge to help him/her come to a decision.
Factors Considered by the Court in Virginia
A parent should study the factors a judge will consider before ruling in order to rationally explain that the relocation is/isn’t in the child’s best interest. The factors a judge will consider to determine the child’s best interest are:
- Age, physical and mental health of both parents.
- Age, physical and mental of the child.
- Each parent’s relationship with the child.
- The child’s needs and his/her relationship with other significant people such as siblings, extended family and friends.
- The role of both parents in the nurture of the child.
- The cooperation of both parents when resolving issues related to the child.
- Preference of the child.
- History of family or sexual abuse.
In Virginia, a judge will also ask the relocating parent to prove why the relocation is in the child’s best interest. To increase his/her chances of winning, a parent should prepare a convincing argument that proves that relocation is the best option for the child. A person may argue that if he/she is allowed to move, they will have an increased income that will help finance the child and that he/she may have more free time to spend with the child after relocation. They may also argue that the child is familiar with the new community and is fond of the idea of relocating. Similarly, the non-custodial parent will argue why it is not in the child’s best interest to move. They may argue that there is no real financial need for the relocation of the child and the custodial parent and that the relationship between the child and themselves will be severely affected if relocation is granted. They can also argue that removing the child from their current residence will affect the child’s relationship with siblings, extended family and friends and that this will in-turn have a bad impact on the child’s state of mind.
In Virginia, a judge will take both arguments into consideration but will rule in what they believe is in the child’s best interest. This means that a parent can only work hard to show the court that they should allow/deny relocation but cannot ensure that the court rule in his/her favour.
If you need a Virginia Child Custody lawyer to help you with your Child Custody case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Child Custody attorneys can help you.