What factors will a judge consider when deciding if I can relocate with my child?
In making a decision regarding a proposed relocation, the judge will consider the following factors:
- the nature, quality, and amount of involvement, and length of the child's relationship with the parent proposing to relocate and with the non-relocating parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child's life,
- the age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child's physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child,
- the likelihood of being able to preserve the relationship between the non-relocating parent and the child through a visitation arrangement (considering the length of travel and the financial circumstances of the parties) ,
- the child's preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child,
- whether there is an established pattern of conduct of the person seeking the relocation, either to promote or prevent the relationship of the child and the non-relocating parent,
- whether the relocation of the child will improve the general quality of life for both the custodial party seeking the relocation and the child, including but not limited to a financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity,
- the reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation, and
- any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.
The judge cannot grant the relocation just based upon the fact that the judge had already given the parent a temporary order allowing the move while the case was pending. Also, the judge cannot consider whether or not the person seeking relocation of the child has declared that s/he will not relocate if relocation of the child is denied.*
Note: The relocating parent has to prove that the proposed relocation is made in “good faith.” If s/he does that, then it is up to the non-relocating parent to show that the proposed relocation is not in the best interest of the child.**
We strongly encourage you to get a lawyer for the relocation hearing. You can find legal referrals on our OK Finding a Lawyer page.
* 43 O.S. § 112.3(J)
** 43 O.S. § 112.3(K)