Thursday, March 28, 2013

Changes to Relocation Rules in Kentucky Child Custody Cases

A couple of years ago Kentucky adopted statewide rules on family law cases.  I wrote about the then "new" rules here.  In the intervening two years, the Kentucky Supreme Court had revisited the relocation issue which is probably a good thing since Kentucky shares a border with seven states and the previous rule required court permission to relocate outside of the state even if "outside of the state" was only a short ten minute drive.  Effective January 1, 2013, the new Family Court Rule of Procedure and Practice (FCRPP)7(2) went into effect.

Under the terms of the new, new relocation rules, where the parties have joint legal custody, the primary residential parent must file a written notice with the court and serve a copy on the non-relocating joint custodian.  Either party may then file a motion to modify child custody or timesharing within twenty days of the notice being filed or the parties may file an agreed order if they come to terms.  While it is not explicitly stated, this would appear to only require a relocating parent to give the other parent a twenty day notice of his/her intent to move.

If the custodial parent has sole custody of the child, he/she must file a written notice with the court and serve a copy on the other parent.  However, the non-custodial parent may only file a motion contesting if the court ordered visitation is affected.  Presumably, if the parties would be able to maintain the same court ordered visitation they had prior to the move, the non-custodial parent does not have grounds to go back to court based solely on the relocation.  Obviously, if there are other factors involved that might justify a custody modification, the parent may proceed.

In our increasingly mobile society it often becomes necessary to relocate for various reasons, especially to try to improve one's economic circumstances.  This modification certainly clears one hurdle that primary residential parents often faced.  However, it requires the non-primary parents to remain ever vigilant to the possibilities that their children may be moved away.  Before making any moves or before your co-parent relocates, consult your family law attorney.