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Copyright ©  Gary R. Spritz, Esquire, Delaware Divorce and Family Law. All rights reserved.

CHILD CUSTODY CASES IN DELAWARE WHERE A PARENT IS MOVING - RELOCATION CASES

    It does come to pass that a parent may want to move. Your first question should be how will it effect my child? Now if it a few blocks with no change of school for the child, there may be little significance. However,"if the relocation may result in a change in the child's school, travel time to school or extracurricular activities or otherwise may adversely affect the child's best interest, the parent choosing to relocate shall obtain written approval from the other parent or a Court Order prior to relocating." The above language is part of the standard provisions that find themselves in many custody orders. This leads us to the next question is there a Delaware custody order in place and does it have language to the above. If there is not, please be aware you may find yourself litigating this in Delaware anyways as the other parent may file there within 6 months  and if they do the Judge may be suspicious as to why you did not seek court permission before you moved.  Delaware does not treat folks who move out with no permission with bad motives kindly so you should speak to an attorney before simply leaving.

Now if there is a custody or visitation order read it and follow it as if you choose to disregard it, you could lose custody. Chances it contain language such as or similar to "if the relocation may result in a change in the child's school, travel time to school or extracurricular activities or otherwise may adversely affect the child's best interest, the parent choosing to relocate shall obtain written approval from the other parent or a Court Order prior to relocating."  If it does you should make an appointment with an attorney familiar who has litigated to conclusion a parent's request to relocate over another parent represented by an attorney's objection or has prevented the relocation of the child and is familar with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Before meeting with the attorney you should prepare a 2 lists the first list should have simply what is good for the child if they moves and the second list  what is bad for the child if they move.  

Now i n doing this it may help to look at A.-P.  below, but if you do not at least do the first exercise as many of the questions of A-P  can be delved into from a pro and anti move list. However, A-P below come from 2 acts that the Court uses in determining a relocation case. They are e the Delaware best interests test and the Model Relocation Act.

The Delaware Best interests test is set forth in 13 Del.C. Sec. 722 and the factors set forth as A-H. below and  the factors are:

A. The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his or her custody and residential arrangements;

so for this what do you want and what does the other parent want.

B.  The wishes of the child as to his or her custodian(s) and residential arrangements;

You should be aware the older the child the more important this is.

C. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, grandparents, siblings, persons cohabiting in the relationship of husband and wife with a parent of the child, any other residents of the household or persons who may significantly affect the child's best interests;

What are the relationships in yours and the others household who is your go to person and theirs when you need help?
D. The child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community;

How is the child doing where he lives and goes to school.
E. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

This includes both parents and child
F. Past and present compliance by both parents with their rights and responsibilities to their child under § 701 of this title;

This includes child support
G. Evidence of domestic violence as provided for in Chapter 7A of this title; and
H. The criminal history of any party or any other resident of the household including whether the criminal history contains pleas of guilty or no contest or a conviction of a criminal offense


 Model Relocation Act often used in Delaware also has consideration of the following factors:

I. the nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the person proposing to relocate and with the non-relocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;

J.the age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child.

K.. the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-relocating person and the child through suitable [visitation] arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties.

L.the child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child.

M. whether there is an established pattern of conduct of the person seeking the relocation, either to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the non-relocating person.

N. whether the relocation of the child will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial party seeking the relocation and the child, including but not limited to, financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity.

O. he reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation; and last

P. ny other factor affecting the best interests of the child.


Now I realize again this is intimidating, but it can be explained at a low cost initial consultation appointment. If you want one call me

at (302) 655-0900 or email me at garyspritz@garyspritz.com.