Relocation of a Parent with the Minor Children
Life situations often change and these changes can have a drastic effect on an already established joint custody and visitation schedule in Oklahoma. One of these changes is when a parent in a Oklahoma divorce or a paternity action wants to relocate with the minor children to a different location or State.
Oklahoma family law statutes require that if the relocating party is intending on moving with the minor children more than 75 miles from their current location then they must:
1. Give the other party 60 days notice prior to the intended move;
2. Provide the other party the intended date of the relocation;
3. State any update contact information such as the address and telephone number of the new residence;
4. Provide a reason for the relocation; and
5. Propose a reasonable alternative to the visitation schedule currently in place
If the other party to the child custody order objects to relocation, they need to do so by filing an objection with the Oklahoma Family court within 30 days of receiving notice. If no objection is filed within the 30 days, then the relocation will be granted without further court hearing.
Should it come to a Family Court hearing on whether or not the relocation should be approved, the Family Courts in Oklahoma will do so on a two prong analysis. First, the court will consider if the relocating party gave notice in good faith. That is, did the relocating party provide 60 days notice, give a good basis for the relocation, give the date of the intended move and provide updated contact information? If not, then the relocation will be denied.
If the court finds that notice was made in good faith, then the court will move onto the second prong of the analysis, which is to determine whether or not such relocation would be in the minor children’s best interest. The factors that the court will consider is the basis for the proposed relocation, the children’s relationship with each parent, the children’s relationship with other individuals at home and at the new location, a support network for the relocating party, and how a relocation would affect the parent child relationship of the non-relocating party.