This is the next post in a series of articles discussing child relocation requests when a parent must move out of Nevada to accept new employment. My previous article focused on the importance of preparing a detailed relocation plan in support of a relocation request. Many parents are surprised to learn that the Clark County Family Court will scrutinize their decision to move outside of the state with a child who is subject to a Las Vegas custody order. Even when the purpose of the move is for employment reasons, the court will take the request seriously. A well thought out plan can help demonstrate to the court that the move will be in the child’s best interest. For the parent remaining behind, the potential for their child to move away can be distressing. In this article, I will discuss how to challenge a parent’s request to relocate. If you need assistance with a child custody issue, contact my office today to speak with a Las Vegas family lawyer.
In tough economic times, Las Vegas residents may face long-term or permanent unemployment. With scarce job opportunities, many are forced to seek employment in other parts of the country. The impact of a move can be devastating to the other parent. It is possible, however, to defend against a relocation request. The court will base its evaluation on whether the move will be in the best interest of the child. By presenting evidence to the contrary to the court, one may defeat the relocation attempt. Factors such as an alternative motive for the move, whether the parent sought employment locally first, lack of educational opportunities, and uncertain living arrangements will be relevant to the decision. It is important to note that if the requesting parent has primary custody of the child, the judge will typically give that parent the benefit of the doubt when making its ruling. For parents with shared custody, the court will weigh the interests of both parents equally.
When a request to relocate is urgent, the court may grant an expedited preliminary hearing. At the hearing, the court will review the requesting parent’s relocation plan. Given the time constraints, the relocation plan may not be well-developed. The lack of details may provide an opportunity for the challenging parent to demonstrate that a temporary relocation order could be unnecessarily disruptive to the child. Consider the following example. The requesting parent wants to move but, at the time of the preliminary hearing, has not actually identified a new job, place to live, schooling, or child care options. The proposed move would be to an unspecified location on the east coast, making regular physical visitation with the co-parent extremely difficult. The opposing parent may challenge the fact that the uncertainty of the relocation plan would potentially create instability for the child and the disruption would be detrimental. The challenger could also provide affirmative evidence that the current local living arrangements, school enrollment, existing support system, etc. create a better environment for the child. Even if temporary permission is granted, a parent defending against the request will have the opportunity to oppose the move at a formal hearing, where a permanent ruling will be issued. Through the discovery process, the parent will be able to gather additional evidence in support of the challenge.
Unemployment and financial uncertainty can create hardships for Las Vegas families. Even so, relocating a child outside of the area for employment can result in more difficulties for the parent left behind. My office has experience handling child custody issues of all kinds, including challenging relocation requests. If you need assistance with a child relocation issue, contact my office to speak with an attorney.