Determining a timeshare and visitation schedule that all are happy with can seem like an overwhelming task during a divorce. Keeping up with your children’s schedules when everyone is under the same roof is difficult enough, so when the parents live in different homes – it makes the task infinitely more problematic. In most cases, children benefit from having both parents in their lives on a regular basis. It is essential that parents should always go the extra mile for the best interests of their children, even if that means setting aside some conflicting emotions. An experienced divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm by your side could truly make a difference in determining timesharing and visitation.
Can I Relocate My Children After My Divorce?
Although you may have been able to successfully identify a timesharing schedule that has worked well, it’s important to also plan for the unexpected. Suppose that either parent receive must move a significant distance away from the other. Court approval may very well be necessary, depending on the parameters of your plan.
If you want to move more than 50 miles away, you must file a petition for relocation with the court—unless the other parent is in agreement with the move. Even if your timesharing agreement has always been informal, rather than court-ordered, it is still best to file a petition for relocation. Otherwise, the other parent could file a case after your move, demanding the child (or children) be returned.
If your timesharing agreement is court-ordered, moving outside the 50-mile radius without obtaining court approval can be a violation of your agreement. If both parents are in agreement with the relocation, you must put this agreement in writing and submit it to the court for ratification by a family law judge. If one parent does not agree to the relocation, an objection must be filed with the court. This objection must include a factual argument that not only states why the relocation should be denied, but also outlines the non-relocating parent’s involvement with the child.
When deciding relocation, the judge will consider the following factors:
- The child’s preference, depending on age
- To what extent the child’s life will be enhanced by the move
- Whether the life of the parent requesting the move will be enhanced
- The impact the move will have on the non-relocating parent
- How the move will affect the child’s emotional, educational, and physical development
- The reasons for relocation and the objections to the relocation
- How involved each parent is with the child and how relocation will affect that involvement
- Whether the relocation is necessary for the employment and economic circumstances of the parent requesting relocation
How Can I Change Our Timesharing Agreement?
With the eb and flow of unpredictability, sometimes it is necessary to make modifications to an established timesharing agreement. At times, these modifications may be agreed upon by both parents, or be contested. The overarching goal, though, is to give your children a sense of predictability, security, and routine.
This is why the courts have established that modification must show there has been a “substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances” from the last agreement, and that the new modification is in the best interests of the child. Examples of items a judge may find to be substantial include:
- Current living situation, and if that living situation has become potentially harmful
- Repeated failure to adhere to the timesharing agreement
- Relocation requests
- Criminal convictions
- One parent is reasonably deemed unfit
- The child’s needs have changed, whether their health needs, educational needs, or the addition of extracurricular activities
- One parent has had a significant change in employment that will now allow them to spend more or less time with the child
Changing a timesharing agreement can be challenging. Having a strong divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm by your side can make this process infinitely easier.
How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help with Timesharing Agreements
An experienced divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm will work with you to help secure an equitable timesharing agreement between both parents. Our goal is always to focus on meeting the needs of our clients, and that includes your children. We will advocate tirelessly to achieve timesharing and visitation agreements that you are happy with and that are in the best interests of your child. Our attorneys have empathy for your situation and will fight aggressively for the future of you and your children. Contact Lauriston Law Firm today.