What if I want to relocate? How will that impact child custody?

Sometimes, after a divorce, you are ready to make other changes in your life. Maybe you want to pursue a new career or a new job opportunity. Maybe you want to move closer to your parents or other family members, so they can help you care for your child. However, you are concerned about how relocating will impact your custody arrangement. What should you know about how Wisconsin handles relocation when a child custody agreement is involved?

Relocation and child custody

In Wisconsin, a parent with a shared custody plan has to seek permission from the court if they want to relocate more than 100 miles away from their current residence. As part of this, your child’s other parent gets notification of your relocation. If your ex contests your plan to move, the court will evaluate whether relocating is in your child’s best interests.

Some factors considered when evaluating a child’s best interests include:

  • If your relocation will give your child access to a better education or an increased standard of living
  • If your relocation will allow your child to spend more time with extended family members
  • If you are relocating only to limit your child’s time with your ex
  • If your child is of an age when it will be easier to adjust to a new school or community
  • If your child wants to relocate and has substantial reasons why they prefer to move with you
  • If either parent, or someone you intend to live with when you relocate, has any history of child abuse

Consulting an attorney about relocation

You should consult an experienced family law attorney if you plan to relocate and need to negotiate a new child custody agreement. You want to have help preparing for your court hearing on your relocation, to ensure you show how your planned move can benefit your child.

You may need to give your ex more custody time with your child during the summer or school breaks. You may need to help transport your child to spend time with their other parent. You need to know what accommodations you may need to make to have your relocation approved.