After a court issues a child custody order to a separating or divorcing married couple, circumstances may change. The custodial parent may want or need to move, but doesn’t want to lose custody, while the other parent may not want to lose contact with the child either. The Henry Law Firm, P.A. in Overland Park represents parents seeking to relocate, as well as mothers and fathers who are opposing such moves.
A custodial parent who wants to permanently move within Kansas and doesn’t plan to return to their original address must give the other parent at least 30 days written notice by certified registered mail, return receipt requested, to the other parent at the parent’s last known address. This requirement is waived if the noncustodial parent has been convicted of committing crimes against at least one child. If the noncustodial parent objects to the proposed move, the court will hold a hearing to decide whether to modify the custody order to allow the relocation. In making this decision, the court must consider a number of factors, including but not limited to:
The parent seeking to relocate has the burden of proving that the move is in the children’s best interests.
If a custodial parent wants to relocate their children out of Kansas, the same notice requirements and opportunity to object apply. A relocation without notice may raise issues about which state’s judicial system should handle the issue, but the Kansas court issuing the custodial order usually retains jurisdiction and must conduct the same analysis as it would in the case of a custodial parent moving within the state. However, the greater distance that is likely to result from an interstate move might make it more difficult for the custodial parent to justify the relocation. The court may order the children to remain in Kansas, and transfer them to the custody of the parent still living in the state if it finds that doing so is in the interests of the children. We will, depending on which side we represent, present a well-supported argument for relocation or keeping the children in Kansas.
Occasionally, divorced parents move with their children to another country. In some cases, the custody court might authorize it, but if the move is unauthorized, it might be difficult to return the children. The Hague Convention, an international treaty signed by the United States and several dozen other countries, may provide some relief when a parent violates a custody order by relocating the child across international boundaries. To obtain relief under the Convention, you must prove that:
There are some defenses that might be applicable in a given situation. The court must issue a decision within six weeks. We handle international custody disputes, including Hague Convention cases, as part of our comprehensive divorce and family law practice.
At The Henry Law Firm, P.A., we advocate on behalf of Kansas parents in custody and relocation disputes of all kinds. Call us at 913-381-5020 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys in Overland Park.