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Child Custody Relocation Lawyers in Fort Mill

Assisting with Matters of Relocation in Fort Mill, Indian Land, Rock Hill, York County & Lancaster County

Relocation after finalization of divorce and child custody arrangements can complicate matters whether you are the parent moving or your former spouse is moving. Relocation can be a highly emotional and contentious matter when it comes to child custody. The team at Holland Law LLC is here to support you and advocate on your behalf. We know these matters are stressful. We can guide you through the process as we negotiate child custody matters in accordance with your concerns regarding the relocation.

Contact us online or at (803) 500-4140 to learn more about how we can help from our offices in Fort Mill and Rock Hill.

What Is Relocation?

As long as the child is considered a minor (younger than 18 years old), the parent awarded custody of the child is allowed to move the child to another home within the state of South Carolina without asking the court for permission. In fact, the law in South Carolina states that courts may not prohibit a custodial parent from moving within the state unless there is a compelling reason to block the move or both parents previously agreed to an explicit restriction limiting the ability to move in-state. In rare circumstances, the noncustodial parent will be permitted to attempt to block an in-state move, but only if it can be proven that the relocation would have a substantial impact on the best interest of the children.

When a court looks at an issue of relocation, it is usually reviewing a scenario where the custodial parent would like to move the children out-of-state. Such a move does require the approval of the court. Further, if the noncustodial parent disagrees with the potential move – which is common – they can ask that the court denies the custodial parent's request. Once a request for the move and the subsequent denial request is made, a hearing will be scheduled.

Relocation Hearings

During the hearing, the custodial parent must prove that the move is a positive move for the child. Proof can come in the form of showing the court that there is an employment opportunity in another state that will put the family in a better position financially and, in turn, improve the child's overall quality of life. The custodial parent must show that visitation arrangements can be structured in such a way to keep the noncustodial parent in the child's life. Essentially, the custodial parent must demonstrate to the court the potential move has been carefully considered and is not based upon an impulse.

The noncustodial parent, in an effort to prevent the move, must prove the relocation request is made out of spite rather than in the best interest of the children. The noncustodial parent must show that the newly proposed visitation schedule is not feasible and will substantially impact the ability for the child to visit the noncustodial parent.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court will either approve or deny the relocation request. If approved, a new visitation schedule will be presented to the noncustodial parent. Usually, the previously established visitation schedule will be adjusted to add more time to the summer season or other school breaks. If the move will increase the financial burden on the noncustodial parent, it is possible that a modification of the original child support obligation will be made.

Modification to Block an Out-of-State Move

Up to this point, it has only been discussed that the court's denial of a request to relocate out-of-state hinges on showing proof that it would not be in the best interest of the child; a challenge to the court custody order has not been discussed. The latter is discussed here: A request of a modification to the custody arrangement as means to block an out-of-state move.

Such an attempt was made in Latimer v. Farmer, 602 S.E.2d 32 (S.C. 2004). In that case, the noncustodial parent and the mother of the adopted child appealed the Court's original order that permitted the custodial parent, the father of the adopted child, to relocate out-of-state due to a job offer. As with most cases involving the custody of a child, the Court's analysis is predicated upon the child's welfare. If a noncustodial parent is seeking to modify a custody order, he or she must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the welfare of the child and a change in custody would be in the overall best interest of the child. In Latimer, the mother attempted to show a substantial change in circumstances that warranted a change in custody by stating that the father's re-marriage and relocation were sufficient changes that warranted a modification of the order. However, the attempt failed as the Court declined the request, finding that it should not be assumed that relocation always has a negative impact on the child's welfare.

If the noncustodial parent is able to show the court that a substantial change of circumstances is impacting the child's welfare, the court may agree to modify custody, which, in turn, would block a move out-of-state.

Once a modification request is made to the court, a judge will consider whether such a modification is truly in the best interest of the child. Once the court determines what is in the best interest of the child, it will either modify the custody order or let it remain as is.

Compassionate Child Custody Lawyers Serving Fort Mill, Indian Land, Rock Hill, York County & Lancaster County

A divorce involving children can have the potential for messy situations, like relocation requests. To reduce some of the stress you may be feeling, it can help to have competent, experienced legal representation on your side. Our team at Holland Law LLC can aggressively yet compassionately advocate on your behalf with your child's interests as our priority.

Contact Holland Law today either online or at (803) 500-4140.

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