Since the turn of the century there has been a big drop in the frequency that people have moved between states during their lifetime. Between the early 60s and early 90s the move rate was fairly high, but this has changed. Recent research has shown that changing child custody practices have been a major contributing factor to a decline in U.S. migration.
Changing Families Have Become More Rooted
Post-divorce family dynamics have become more complex in the 21st century. It used to be common for mothers to gain primary custody and for fathers to move on to whatever place worked best for them. Now, with an increasing emphasis on joint custody, fathers (or mothers in some cases) are expected to stay close by and remain a bigger part of their children’s lives. In order for joint custody situations to work, parents need to maintain at least a reasonable amount of geographic proximity to one another.
When Moving is Necessary
While staying in the same place works for some people, it isn’t always a reasonable option. There are times when having the freedom to accept a job promotion or transfer can make a big difference in a person’s quality of life, and subsequently their children’s standard of living. There may be non-economic reasons to move, too. A different climate might be better for a child’s allergies, or it might be necessary to move back to a state where elderly parents live and need care.
Staying connected over long distances is easier than it once was. The Internet makes face to face communication possible from almost any location in the world, so participation is possible even if parents don’t live close by. Joint custody arrangements may be more difficult when there is greater physical distance, but it is not impossible.
How A Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you need to seek a custody modification in order to facilitate a move to a new city or state, you should work closely with a family law attorney. A good attorney can help you convey why such a move is both necessary and in the children’s best interests.
Conversely, if your co-parent is seeking permission to relocate and you believe this will adversely affect your relationship with your children, an experienced attorney can help you present the strongest case for keeping the current arrangement in place.