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Contemplating a move?  Have joint custody over a child and you and your “ex” live in the same town, but now you have a job offer in another state and can provide a better life for yourself and your child?  What do you do?

The area of “relocation” in a child custody situation is more complicated than can be stated here.  But, this is a basic guide on the issue.  If you share joint physical custody (i.e. have nearly a 50/50 time share), here is the process:

The first step, always, is to try to get a written consent from the other parent.  Assuming that fails, then your only option is to file a motion for change of custody under NRS 125.510(2) for the purpose of relocation.  From there, the Court must look at what is in the child’s best interest.  The move cannot simply be in the moving parent’s best interest.  Rather, it has to be in the child’s best interest – keep this in mind as the two do not always overlap.  The Court will look at whether the child’s quality of life will be improved, whether the motive to move is honorable, and whether there will be a realistic opportunity for the non-moving parent to maintain a visitation schedule with the child that will foster their relationship.

In determining the “best interest” of the child, our courts will look at the factors specifically outlined in NRS 125.480 (4).  This statute denotes the mandatory factors for consideration by the Court in awarding custody.  Whenever the child’s best interest is discussed, the factors in NRS 125.480(4) apply, which state:

In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider and set forth its specific findingsconcerning, among other things:

(a) The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his custody.

(b) Any nomination by a parent or a guardian for the child.

(c) Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent.

(d) The level of conflict between the parents.

(e) The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.

(f) The mental and physical health of the parents.

(g) The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.

(h) The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.

(I) The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.

(j) Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.

(k) Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has engaged in an act of domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child.

(l) Whether either parent or any other person seeking custody has committed any act of abduction against the child or any other child.

Overall, relocation cases can be some of the most difficult.  They are emotional and the non-moving “innocent” parent has a very sympathetic case.  These cases are difficult to settle, since they require one parent to have what he or she wants, and the other “loses”.  With that backdrop, be sure you do your homework on where your child will be at the end of the day, and be ready to prove the move is best for the child, not just for you.

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