Relocation Issues for Parents Moving Into or Away From Rhode Island

When a divorce occurs, one household is split into two. For the children involved, this can be especially challenging. But the challenge is made greater when one parent must move away from the area. Families often face a great deal of conflict related to parental relocation, and parents are best served by seeking experienced legal counsel.

At my Coventry, Rhode Island, law practice, I use decades of experience to represent parents in disputes related to parental relocation. Each case is different. Sometimes I represent the parent who plans to relocate due to financial or family circumstances. Other times, I represent the parent who plans to stay.

When a Parent Moves, What Happens to the Existing Child Custody Agreement?

While each case is unique, most parenting plans specify what is to happen if one of the parents must move away. The plans usually say that the parent who wishes to move away must petition the court to change the child custody arrangement. That parent must convince the court that allowing the move is in the best interests of the children.

Courts hope that both parents will agree to the change or will be able to negotiate a reasonable solution through mediation. However, this is not always possible. I assist in all types of cases. While I am known for my success in litigation, my role may also be to file the necessary documents with the court or to guide you through mediation, depending on your needs.

Dupre: An Important Case

In Rhode Island, a 2004 case called Dupre v. Dupre has helped define the law on parental relocation. In Dupre, two divorced parents disagreed about where their children should live. One parent resided in Rhode Island, while the other parent wished to move to a remote Polynesian island. The Duprecourt conducted an extensive analysis. Ultimately, it laid out the factors courts must consider in parental relocation cases. These include:

  • The wishes of the parents
  • The preferences of the children
  • The relationships between the children and their parents
  • The children's adjustment to home, school and community
  • The mental health of the children and parents
  • The stability of the home
  • The moral fitness of the parents
  • The willingness and ability of the parents to keep the parent/child relationships intact

Act Quickly for Legal Help in Move-Away Cases

When a parent plans to move, he or she is expected to petition the court for a modification before the move. Otherwise, that parent may experience negative legal consequences. When a parent knows that the other parent plans to move and wishes to prevent it, quick action is also necessary.

Either way, the best course of action is to call 401-463-5106 or contact me online to schedule a private and confidential consultation with a lawyer.

I represent clients throughout Rhode Island including Cranston, Warwick, Providence, East Providence, Johnston, Smithfield, Lincoln, Barrington, East Greenwich, Cumberland, North Providence, North Kingstown, Warren, West Greenwich, North Smithfield, Scituate, Pawtucket, West Warwick, Woonsocket, Glocester, and Tiverton.