Relocations Caused by COVID-19 Still Complicate Custody Arrangements

Relocations Caused by COVID-19 Still Complicate Custody Arrangements

For more than two and a half years, COVID-19 has wrought havoc on individuals and families in countless ways. Many divorced parents have experienced serious challenges due to the effect of school closures, remote work and quarantines on custody arrangements. During the “two weeks to stop the spread” period, most parents were willing to make short-term schedule changes to adjust to lockdown rules. Unfortunately, we still have not returned completely to the lives we led in the pre-coronavirus world. Parents who don’t live together are still dealing with custody and visitation complications.

Many pandemic-related relocations occur in situations where the ability to work from home leads people to move from their city apartments to suburbs or rural areas. This type of move can be especially attractive to parents who want a larger home for their child or a yard for them to play in. While these might be good reasons to move, the parent who remains in the city could find it much harder to spend time with their son or daughter.

Under New York law, a parent who objects to a proposed relocation involving their child can file a petition seeking to stop the move. As in other child custody disputes, the judge may adjust the parenting plan by reviewing the relevant circumstances and deciding what is in the child’s best interests. Some of the key factors to be considered include:

  • Why the moving parent seeks to relocate
  • How the proposed move will affect the noncustodial parent’s ability to see their child
  • What effect the move might have on the child’s physical, emotional and financial well-being
  • How the move will affect the child’s education

Contested relocations have never been easy, but in the wake of COVID-19, families are experiencing new challenges. For example, the return-to-office policies for many employers are still unsettled. This makes it more difficult to determine which parent’s schedule will make them better suited to meeting their son or daughter’s daily needs.

Another challenge relates to the timing of relocation requests. They usually occur before the youth moves to their new residence. However, in some current cases, the child might have been staying for months or even years in the community where the custodial parent now wants to complete a legal relocation.

Whether you’re seeking a relocation or trying to stop one, Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. can explain what factors might be most important in your case. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Long Island attorneys, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online.

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