Sharing custody of a child is difficult enough when two parents live in the same area, however when one parent wishes to move to another state with a child, a new set of challenges arises. In Massachusetts, a parent must request permission to move out of the state with the child. The other parent has a right to object, and challenge the request. Moving away can have major impacts on the other parent’s ability to spend time with the child. Unless the parents reach an agreement, the dispute will be left for the courts to resolve. Massachusetts courts must consider a number of specific factors when determining whether to grant a parent’s request to relocate. As with any other custody dispute, the courts consider the best interests of the child. This standard requires courts to evaluate both the positive and negative impacts the move will have on the child. In particular, the courts evaluate how the move will impact the child’s emotional or physical needs. The courts also recognize that the well-being of the custodial parent can affect the child’s best interests. As a result, the courts evaluate whether the move will improve the quality of life for both the parent and the child. Factors such as employment prospects, available support of family and friends, and the anticipated living situation in the new state are all factors that the courts consider. Relocation is a unique custody issue. There are many different variables, which can make the issue even more challenging.
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