Divorce is difficult for anyone who goes through it – especially when the couple has a child or children. Child custody matters can cause significant conflict between parents if mishandled.
In Ohio, the court aims to tailor parenting plans to meet the needs of each family, and many parents want to spend an equal amount of time with their child. However, one parent must be designated the residential parent for school district purposes in the parenting plan.
Both parents can be residential parents if they live within the same section and school district. However, if one parent moves farther away and wants to continue to be the residential parent, things can become more complicated. Under Ohio law, if this is the case, the parent who lives in the same section of the school district where the child attends will be the residential parent.
While it may sound like the residential parent has more rights over the child, that is not necessarily so. The residential parent is simply the parent who lives in the school district the child attends.
Can either parent relocate with their child, and how?
Either parent can file a document with the court along with the original child custody order. This serves as a request for permission for the parent to move with the child. The court will consider the child’s best interests when determining whether allowing the move is proper under Ohio law.
If the parents agree, the court may consider that because the parents are ultimately, in the eyes of the law, the ones best suited to make decisions for their children. However, if one parent objects, the court will evaluate the matter. Though the court cannot stop the parent who wants to relocate from moving, it can order the other parent to take custody of the children.
Ohio courts’ primary concern when making decisions about parental relocation is the best interests of the child, which include factors such as:
- The child’s relationship with their parents
- The distance between the child’s current residence and the location where the relocating parent wants to move to
- The child’s bond with members of their extended family
- The reasons for the move, and
- How well the parents can collaborate in parenting the child together
While parenting relocation cases can be complicated in certain instances, relocating with the child in the right circumstances is possible.
Parenting after divorce can be difficult. Additional challenges, such as a parental relocation can increase the number of problems parents face when having to make decisions and in many cases, they must work with the court to reach a decision that works for everyone, especially for the child.