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Why a Noncustodial Parent May Not Want to Move Away


When parents get divorced, the one constant is change and the family courts are well-aware of this fact. If you’re getting a divorce, your life now will probably look very different five years from now. Why? We say this because it’s normal for divorcing individuals to change careers, to go from being a homemaker to someone in the workforce, to remarry, relocate, and to move to another town – all of that is normal.

If you’re a parent and you’re thinking about leaving your kids with your ex and moving out of the county or state, you may want to think twice about that decision, especially if you want to move for a “change of scenery,” to get a fresh start, for $10,000 more a year at a different job, or to be closer to someone you met online.

How Would a Move Impact Your Kids?

The real question is, how would your children feel about you moving far away? While it may sound exciting to move closer to grandma, or to move to a bigger city for a new job, or to get a much-needed change of scenery, in reality, when parents move far away, it almost always hurts their kids’ feelings and it can be impossible to reverse the damage.

Even if a child puts on a smile and acts like they’re happy for their parent, in reality, they’re usually deeply hurt by the move and feel as if their parent is abandoning them. If you decide to move and your spouse badmouths you within earshot of your children or directly to them, it could have a huge impact on your children and you may never get the opportunity to change your children’s minds.

Not only is a moving parent more vulnerable to parental alienation, but it can be a lot harder and more expensive for parents to see their children than they initially expected. “I’ll see you in two months” can change into six months and as time goes by, it can turn into a parent going a year straight without seeing their kids. Then one day, when their kids are teens, they don’t want to visit anymore because they will miss their friends too much back home.

Only you know how your kids will react to you moving far away. However, we want you to be realistic. More often than not, distance does make it harder for parents to remain fully connected to their children. Skype and FaceTime are great inventions, but they’re no substitute for in-person conversations and hugs with one’s children.