Posted on 05/24/2017 at 12:00 AM by Regan Wilson
A common occurrence that arises subsequent to a divorce is when a parent receives word that his or her ex-spouse or partner is spontaneously taking a job 75 miles away or moving out of the state to reunite with his high school sweetheart. What are your options when there is going to be a sudden shift in the status quo?
First, depending on your custodial arrangement and depending on how far the relocating spouse or partner moves, either parent may need to file for a modification of custody. Under Iowa law, once a custody arrangement is set, the court requires a showing that a change of circumstances has occurred before they will disturb the status quo. If the relocating parent has visitation, as opposed to primary physical custody, the petitioning parent must demonstrate a material change of circumstances and, if successful, the court would adjust the relocating parent’s visitation schedule to accommodate the relocation. For a petitioning parent that is requesting the court to transfer physical custody from the other parent or requesting the court to break a shared care custodial arrangement, as a result of the relocating parent, the petitioning parent must demonstrate a substantial change of circumstances and that he or she is the superior caregiver. It is clear that given these high standards that Iowa courts do not take custodial changes lightly. The legislature’s disdain for custodial changes is even more obvious by the statutory prohibition, in the dissolution and paternity/custody statutes, for temporary or interim modifications of custody, absent extraordinary circumstances. The result is that your family could be in limbo for up to nine months before your case is brought before a judge.
If the relocating parent attempts to circumvent the presently ordered custodial arrangement by moving the child(ren) out of the school district, county, state, etc., the resisting parent might need to file for a temporary injunction where the resisting parent requests the court to restrain the relocating parent from taking such action. Because a temporary injunction is so restrictive, the resisting parent must demonstrate that he or she (or the children) will suffer irreparable harm if the relocating parent is able to proceed. This is a tough standard to demonstrate. For further information regarding an unanticipated change of circumstances, please contact Regan Wilson.
The material in this blog is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney if specific legal information is needed.
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