How Do Relocation Laws in Oklahoma Impact Child Custody Arrangements?

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How Does Oklahoma Law Define ‘Relocation?’

For purposes of relocation laws as far as how they pertain to child custody cases, relocation is a change in the principal residence of a child over 75 miles away from the original principal residence. If the expected duration of the new residence is more than 60 days, it is considered a relocation. If it is less than 60 days, it is considered a temporary absence. Under these laws, relocation can mean anywhere outside of the state or within the state of Oklahoma, so long as it is 75 miles away.

Under Oklahoma law, it is possible for a parent entitled to child custody to relocate. However, that legal right is subject to certain conditions. The right to child relocation is subject to the power of a family law court to restrain the removal of a minor child if they believe that the removal of that child would prejudice the rights and welfare of the child.

Child custody legal matters are among the most hotly contested legal issues in any court of law. The question of child relocation is likely to create even more friction in an already difficult legal process. If you are planning to relocate with your child or you are trying to prevent your ex-spouse from relocating and taking your children farther away, it is recommended that you seek professional legal representation for assistance. Our law firm has years of experience representing clients in complex family law issues such as child custody cases and relocation matters. Schedule a free initial consultation with our law firm today.

Does the Custodial Parent Have to Notify Others Prior to Relocating?

The parents with primary physical custody of minor children must provide notice to the family law court and the other parent (as well as anyone else entitled to visitation rights) about the plan to relocate.

The notice must include:

  • A complete address of the proposed new physical residence and a mailing address if it is different from the street address.
  • A proposed revision to visitation schedules and parenting time.
  • A new phone number, if applicable.
  • A written statement on the reasons for the proposed family relocation.
  • The date of the intended move.
  • And finally, a notification to the recipient that they have 30 days to file an objection with a family law court. Failure to object within that time frame will result in the courts allowing the relocation.

The notice of relocation must be provided as soon as firm knowledge of the move is known. It should be provided to the courts and the other parent no later than 60 days prior to the move. If 60 days is not feasible, then the parents must give notice to the other parent and other interested parties within at least ten days of knowledge of the move.

Failure to meet notice requirements could result in harsh consequences in your child custody case. It could be used against the party and result in child custody modifications against their wishes. Additionally, they may pay fines or be held in contempt of court.

Can the Other Parent Object to the Plans to Relocate?

If there is an objection to family relocation, the matters go to court. A judge will then determine whether relocation can proceed as planned.

The purpose of these court hearings is to determine whether a proposed move would prove harmful to the minor child and have an overwhelmingly negative impact on their relationship with the other parent. The court is always interested in maintaining the best interests of the children first and foremost. In the cases of family relocation, a family law judge will consider safety first. If a move puts a minor child in any danger, the court is unlikely to allow the move to proceed.

The non-relocating parent must file an objection with the courts to prevent the move. They should retain professional legal representation when taking their child custody case to court to fight their child’s relocation. First, a temporary hearing is heard, and then it moves to a final hearing or trial if necessary. Objections of relocation must be filed within 30 days of receiving the notice of relocation.

What Factors Does a Family Law Court Consider When Making Decisions on Relocation in a Child Custody Case?

At the child relocation hearing, a family law judge will consider evidence relevant to the case and determine whether to allow the move to proceed as planned.

Factors a family law court will consider include the following:

  • How a move may impact the developmental and emotional needs of a minor child.
  • How family relocation will impact the education of the child.
  • How visitation will play out between the parent with visitation rights and their child.
  • If the child is mature enough, their preference will be recorded.
  • Special needs of the child.
  • The age and unique needs of the child.
  • The nature, quality, and extent of involvement of a child’s relationship with either parent, sibling, or other significant individuals in that child’s life.
  • The reasons for objecting to the relocation.
  • The reasons for the proposed move.
  • Whether the relocating parent will continue to foster a relationship between the child and their other parent.
  • Whether the relocation will enhance the child’s quality of life.
  • And any factor affecting the best interest of the child.

When is Relocation Likely Not Allowed?

In many cases of a custodial parent having sole custody of their child, they are allowed to relocate. However, this is not always the case.

Many relocation attempts are made because of a parent chasing a new job opportunity. If the new job opportunity requires the parent to be working substantially longer hours, a family law court may decide against their plans for relocation. Ultimately, it is about what is in the best interest of the child. Similarly, if the relocating parent is looking to share a residence with another individual who has a history of domestic violence or criminal activity or is a registered sex offender, the court is unlikely to allow the relocation.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with Experienced Child Custody Lawyers Today

Child custody cases are hotly contested and emotionally exhausting legal matters among the most difficult issues that any family, individual, or legal counsel must contend with. It is not advisable to proceed with a child custody case unless you have experienced attorneys representing your best interests.

Whether you are looking to move or are attempting to prevent the relocation of your child, our law firm has the experience and knowledge to assist you in the pursuit of your goals. Schedule a free consultation with our family law attorneys to discuss your case today. 918-553-5771.

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