Oct. 13, 2017 – Two Republican legislators are sponsoring legislation that would clarify the child custody notification process for separated parents when one chooses to relocate.
Rep. Jessie Rodriguez (R-Oak Creek) and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf’s (R-Hudson) bill would provide a clear process for a separated couple when one parent wants to move with their child(ren) more than 100 miles away from another parent.
Currently, if parents share placement of their child(ren) and they live close to each other, and if one parent wants to move more than 150 miles away, the process that the moving parent must follow to notify the non-moving parent is confusing and burdensome, particularly if the non-moving parent objects to the move.
The State Bar’s Family Law Section board worked with Rep. Rodriguez and Sen. Harsdorf on the proposal creating a process of notification that a moving parent must follow, and provides a timeframe in which the moving parent must provide notice and the non-moving parent must respond. The moving parent must give details about where and why they are moving, as well as propose a new placement schedule if the move is approved by the court, including details such as transportation logistics and shared expenses. The standard by which the court decides to approve of the move remains the same – all decisions must be made based on the best interests of the child(ren).
In addition to reducing the distance by 50 miles and creating a uniform notification process, this proposal also clarifies many uncertainties in existing law, which currently results in inconsistent application and rulings throughout the state. These inconsistencies include applying the law to all parents, not just divorced parents, and outlining the process to follow if the non-moving parent does not object to the move. The bill also codifies the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to remove notification requirements if a parent moves out of state within the 100-mile range. Current law makes it difficult for parents to move short distances across state lines even if the move doesn’t disrupt the placement of the child.
Members of the Family Law Section board voted to unanimously support the changes. The legislation has been introduced in the Senate, SB 448, and will be introduced in the Assembly soon with public hearings to follow.