If you have a shared parenting plan or you are the parent with primary custody of the children, you are not permitted to simply move away, or deprive the other parent or family members time with the children. Ohio law requires that the residential parent (both parents in a shared parenting plan) file a notice of the intent to relocate with the domestic relations court which holds jurisdiction over the case. The other parent must receive notice of the intent to relocate and either consent to the relocation or file an objection and request a hearing on the matter.
Generally, it is difficult for a residential parent to relocate further than 50 miles from the non-residential parent without their consent. The court will consider the best interest of the children and the reasons for the relocation. A new spouse or a “change of scenery” are not as compelling reasons as employment or possibly medical reasons. The Court will weigh the benefit of the relocation against the child’s relationship with the other parent, grandparents, school, community and other relevant relationships. The further the moving party seeks to relocate, the more difficult it becomes to convenience the Court that it is in the best interest of the child to lose these relationships.
One option we always recommend in relocation cases is to look to ways to keep control over the relocation by finding common goals with the non-relocating parent. For example, we represented a client who intended to relocate to the State of Washington from Cincinnati, Ohio. After meeting with them prior to filing a notice to relocate, it was decided that the other parent would be offended by the filing of the notice without warning and the Court would likely not agree to the relocation if the matter was litigated based upon the reason for the relocation and a move which would leave many family members behind in Cincinnati. We decided that the best approach was for our client to approach the other party in a collaborative way, even though this was not their customary approach. We were able to negotiate the relocation with the other parent and interestingly enough, the other parent ended up relocating to the same area across the country. It is sometimes more important to think outside of the box to find resolutions, then to charge ahead with a win at all costs attitude.
Relocation is a complicated situation because it typically impacts two families, many siblings, step-siblings and ties to the community. We recommend that that you consult with a seasoned family law attorney before you even approach your ex-spouse about the relocation if you believe there will be any pushback. You one have one chance to introduce them to the idea and if it is done incorrectly, there may be no return from the emotional rollercoaster that follows.