How Relocation Cases are Determined

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In the case Tropea v. Tropea, the New York Court of Appeals determined that “each relocation request must be considered on its own merits with due consideration of all the relevant facts and circumstances and with the predominant emphasis being placed on what outcome is most likely to serve the best interests of the child.”

This means that requests by custodial parents (the parent with primary custody) to move with their child are considered on an individual basis, based on what the court deems is in the child’s best interest. This varies based on particular circumstances, such as how close the child is with the non-custodial parent, the reason for the move, whether the non-custodial parent is interested in securing custody, etc.

  • When deciding relocation cases, the courts will consider each of the following factors:
  • Why each parent either wants to move or objects to the move
  • The relationship and closeness between the child and each parent
  • Whether a meaningful relationship will be able to be preserved between the noncustodial parent and the child through visitation
  • Whether the custodial parent and child’s lifestyles will benefit from the move, economically, emotionally, and/or educationally
  • Whether the move would affect the child’s relationship with extended family members

If the custodial parent moving would result in the noncustodial parent losing “meaningful access” to their child, the court will weigh that fact against other aspects, including:

  • Why the custodial parent desires to move
  • Any positive results that could occur for the child if they move
  • Any harm that could happen if the move is not allowed

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