Compromising when one parent moves after divorce

North Carolina parents who get a divorce may initially focus on living near one another so that their children’s lives are less disrupted, but that might change if one parent begins a relationship with someone who does not live nearby. That parent might eventually decide to move to live closer or with their new partner. When this occurs, it may change the custody and visitation schedule, and the stress of longer commutes may fall primarily on one parent.

The problem here is that if the parent who feels overburdened refuses to drive the children the added distance, it is ultimately the children who lose out. Anger at a former spouse is not unusual, and one study found that a third of men and half of women are still angry at a spouse a decade after the divorce. It can be difficult for parents to keep a child’s best interests in mind when they are dealing with anger and frustration toward their former spouse. Mediation might be one way parents can start to communicate constructively about this difficult situation.

Compromises after a move may include reducing or increasing child support or one parent getting more time with the child than they had before. The child might even choose to go with the parent who is making the move.

Relocation and other major modifications in child custody or support may involve returning to court and another legal agreement. In some cases, a parent may have additional concerns such as abuse or the possibility of an international abduction. If this is the case, the parent might want to discuss those concerns with their attorney and find out what steps they can take to protect their child. However, outside of these mitigating circumstances, experts generally agree that contact with both parents is better for children.