What Factors Does The Court Consider In The Relocation Of A Child?
We have specific factors, in the state of Rhode Island, which the court considers in matters of relocation. Some of the factors considered are each parent’s relationship with the children and the children’s relationship with siblings, grandparents, extended family and friends. The court would also consider the age and the needs of the children and the impact that the relocation would have on them emotionally. The judge would consider the effect of the relationship that the child has with the nonrelocating parent and whether suitable visitation arrangements can be made. The court will also consider the child’s reasonable preference, regarding which parent he or she wants to live with.
In Rhode Island, there is no certain age at which a child can choose which parent to live with. A reasonable preference will be considered. Another thing that the court will consider is whether there is a reason to believe that the parent who is seeking relocation of the child is doing so to interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the child. Are they willing to foster a good relationship between the child and the nonrelocating parent? If they’re allowed to move, what is their willingness and ability to do that?
The court will always consider whether or not the relocation will benefit the child’s quality of life, financially, emotionally, and from an education standpoint. Finally, they will look at why the parent is seeking to relocate with the child. Are they going to be earning a better living? Will the child have access to more relatives to love them? All these issues are weighed, carefully.
If Relocation Is Approved, Will The Custody Order Be Revised By Considering Things Like Transportation Costs, Etc.?
When the court becomes involved, we really try to negotiate these agreements rather than have contested trials or hearings. There is an enormous benefit to trying to mediate agreements between parties so that they feel like they have some control over what’s going on. If that happens, then one of the things that is often negotiated is a credit against child support for the nonrelocating parent to be able to travel to visit the children. Usually, agreements can be reached. If they can’t, then the judge will make a decision and he or she can certainly take costs into consideration when rendering their decision.
What Happens If An Agreement Cannot Be Reached In Mediation?
If an agreement cannot be reached in mediation, then the case will eventually go to a contested trial, where the court will consider a report from a guardian ad litem. The judge will hear from both sides and consider any evidence and any witnesses that the parties want to present. A trial will ensue, where the judge will have to make the decision, and courts don’t like making those decisions. They really try to encourage the parties to make these decisions for their own children because they know that the people who are best suited to make those decisions are the parents. However, if the parents ultimately cannot, the judge will have no choice but to make the decision for them.
Our senior attorney, Veronica Assalone, is proficient in Spanish, French, German, Italian and American Sign Language. Our office assistant speaks Spanish.
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