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Divorced parents must follow child custody laws when relocating

There may come a time in the weeks, months or even years after parents in New Hampshire divorce when one parent wishes to move. For example, a parent might receive a lucrative job offer in another part of the state or they may wish to live closer to family. However, if a parent has custody of their child for at least 150 days of the year, there are certain legal requirements they must meet before relocating with the child.

First, it is important to note that, in general, parents cannot relocate with the child after a divorce unless they first receive a court order permitting the move. However, this does not apply to moves that are deemed necessary for the safety of either the child, the parent or both.

Before moving, the parent must give their ex reasonable notice of the relocation. Per New Hampshire law, 60 days is presumed to be a sufficient amount of time. However, a shorter notice may be given if the child or parent's safety is threatened or if the move is due to circumstances outside the relocating parent's control.

Following that, either parent has the right to move the court for a hearing regarding the relocation. Parents can request that the court issue an ex parte order that will either permit the parent to move with the child or prevent the parent from moving with the child. The parent seeking to move bears the burden of proving through a preponderance of the evidence that they have a legitimate reason for moving and that the proposed location of the move is reasonable. If this burden of proof is met, the burden is shifted to the other parent, who must then show by a preponderance of the evidence that the move does not serve the child's best interests.

Of course, parents can reach an agreement permitting the move out of court. If so, the court can modify the parents' child custody schedule if it finds that the relocation is in the child's best interests.

Moving can be exciting for parents and children alike, especially if it is done in hopes of having a better life. However, when parents are divorced, they must respect the other's parenting time. This means that a parent that wishes to relocate with the child must follow all legal requirements for doing so.

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