Relocating with your children to another state or city can be a complex process, especially if you share custody with another parent. If you're considering relocating with your child, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Nevada’s relocation laws and understand how Nevada courts prioritize the child's best interests when determining if they would allow parents to relocate with their children.
Overview Of Nevada Child Relocation Laws
Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 125C.006, 125C.0065 and 125C.007 govern child relocation laws in the state. To move with your child to another state or a location within Nevada that would significantly impact the existing custody and visitation arrangements, you must obtain approval from your co-parent or from the court. The court's primary focus is on the best interests of the child.
Key Pieces For Relocation Approval
When evaluating a relocation request, the court considers several elements and factors to determine if a relocation should be granted. Some of the most important concerns include:
- The reason for the move and whether it is made in good faith (i.e., employment opportunities or moving to be with a spouse).
- Whether there is an actual advantage for the children and the parent to relocate. The court typically looks at the potential benefits of the move, including improved quality of life, educational opportunities, better environment and access to health care.
- The potential impact on the child's relationship with the non-relocating parent and the ability to maintain a meaningful relationship.
- The feasibility of a revised visitation schedule for the non-relocating parent.
The Child's Best Interests
There are a dozen factors laid out in NRS 125C.0035(4) that the court may evaluate. Common significant factors that arise in relocation cases are:
- Which parent is better at encouraging frequent associations with the other parent.
- The child's relationship with each parent and the potential impact of the move on these relationships.
- The child's educational, health care and social needs.
- Which parent is best at cooperating with the other parent.
The Legal Process For Requesting Relocation Approval
To seek court approval for relocation, you must follow these steps:
- Notify the other parent in writing and request permission, providing the reason for the move, the proposed location and a proposed revised visitation schedule.
- If the other parent refuses to agree, file a petition with the court requesting permission to relocate.
- Attend mediation, if ordered by the court, to attempt to resolve the matter without the court making the decision.
- Attend a court hearing where both parties present their arguments, which if a sufficient basis is presented a trial will be set.
- Prepare all the evidence and witness to be presented at trial to the judge.
- Wait for the judge's decision after the trial, which may include order different than what either party proposed.
The court may either grant or deny your relocation request. If granted, the judge will likely modify the existing custody and visitation orders to accommodate the new living arrangement. If denied, the other party may receive custody. If the ruling goes against you, you may want to explore alternative options or consider filing a motion for reconsideration or an appeal if there is a basis. Child support will likely change as well and the cost of travel for the child will be taken into account. The parent who relocates usually must bear the increased travel costs, either paying for it or having child support changed.
Tips For A Successful Relocation Request
There are many factors the court will consider when making their decision, but taking the following steps may increase your chances of obtaining court approval:
- Develop a comprehensive plan that addresses housing, employment and educational arrangements for your child.
- Clearly demonstrate how the move will benefit the child in various aspects, such as emotional well-being, education and financial stability.
- Propose a fair and flexible visitation schedule for the non-relocating parent that is cognizant of the other parent’s schedule.
- Remain cooperative and willing to work with the court and the other parent to promote the child's best interests.
Child relocation cases are often some of the most difficult cases in family law. Having an attorney who has a thorough understanding of the legal requirements of relocation can benefit yours. They can help you understand your options and protect your rights early on so that you can come up with an effective, viable approach to your relocation request.
The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.