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Children's best interests less clear in interstate child custody

The best interests of the child should always be the main focus of any comprehensive child custody arrangement, but when a custodial parent intends to move to another state outside of Oregon, it can become exceptionally difficult to discern what that best interest actually is. No matter where either parent is located, parenting time is still an important part of interstate child custody agreements. Even when separated by state lines, we understand how important parental involvement is in a child's life.

Although the idea of a custodial parent just picking up and moving away with a child can be understandably terrifying, the actual process is significantly more complicated. While there is certainly no legal limit on where a parent may live or move, if he or she has primary custody of a child who has another actively involved parent, it may not be so easy to relocate that child. Most custodial parents must demonstrate that a serious move across state lines will have a significantly positive affect on the child. A new job or different housing opportunities are not necessarily considered to be compelling arguments for such a drastic change.

The rights of the non-custodial parent must also be considered and, in this type of situation, weighed against the perceived benefits to the child. For instance, a parent with primary custody might have the opportunity to make more money at a new, out-of-state job, but the extra income might not trump the non-custodial parent's right to have access to regular visits with his or her child. It can be especially tricky to determine when a child's possible benefits from a move are actually outweighed by the rights of a parent.

Moving across state lines in search of better opportunities is far from an uncommon occurrence, but the matter can quickly become complicated when a custodial parent wants to move a child out of Oregon. We understand how nuanced interstate child custody issues can be, and emotions can understandably run high. However, our commitment to our clients and their legal custody issues has allowed us to help achieve agreeable and favorable outcomes for parents who are fighting to remain actively involved in their children's lives.

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