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International Divorce Mediation and Relocation: Parenting Plans, Visitation and Costs

Part III of a Series on International and National Divorce and Relocation

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

There is no overstating the importance of parenting plans if you’re divorcing with kids. When your divorce involves relocation nationally or internationally, this is even more pronounced. What might be a matter of swapping the school run or alternating holidays when you live in the same town becomes an issue with huge logistical and legal consequences when you live far apart. Even if you’re in an amicable relationship with your spouse, issues loom which make this much more complicated than your average divorce. These can be summarized as:

1. The legalities of relocating and traveling with your child
2. More serious negotiations about how your child spends their time (and with who) than if your child was in the same town
3. The costs of maintaining a good relationship with both the child’s parents

Solutions Through Mediation

Problem: The custodial parent wants to move to another state or country. You are not happy about it, but don’t want to engage in a legal fight.
Solution: In relocation cases, judges will focus on the best interests of the child rather than the parent. This can be a more difficult determination than it seems however, since what is best for the child may be having a relationship with both parents, and the parents’ individual happiness also strongly impacts on the child. Use mediation to help you be confident that you have thoroughly evaluated the move in terms of your child’s best interests. Be prepared to accept that best solution may be relocation. At BCS we use psychoanalytical approaches to tailor solutions to the child’s developmental level and game theory to help parents resolve differing interests. Feeling confident that any major relocation is in your child’s best interests will make it easier to accept. Also clear agreements and boundaries should be set before the move, as removing the child without the parent’s consent can be considered kidnapping.
Problem: You have a parenting plan but it needs to change now that your spouse is moving to another country or state.
Solution: It’s very important to work on your parenting plan in advance of your child’s relocation. There are many new considerations that should be factored in, such as time difference, childcare and school runs. The parent in the new location will effectively have to operate like a single parent. We are experienced in drafting complex parenting plans for international couples that are smart, efficient and thorough.
Problem: Who bears the extra costs of the child living abroad or in a different state?
Solution: When a child has relocated, the costs of parenting rise. Who pays for travel? How does maintenance factor in? If any agreements have to be redone, they should be done before the relocation so there are not further travel costs associated with having to travel to another jurisdiction to have the agreement approved (the original jurisdiction will usually control the new agreement). Consult mediators with legal and financial expertise to help you spread new costs fairly between you.
Problem: Your child will be raised in a vastly different culture
Solution: You can have a say in how your child is raised, and you should. Without building walls between you and your co-parent, you can find a compromise in how your child is exposed to cultural traditions. The goal is not to restrict children, but to ensure they understand both halves of their heritage and feel rooted. Being raised in more than one culture can actually be a positive and rich experience for a child.

How We Can Help

We are caring, well-educated mediators who are skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. Our high-level divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives or divorces that may be difficult or require fine-tuned planning to maintain stability for kids. We work with individuals from several cultures and countries, and can help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. You can visit us at our offices in Boulder, CO, Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and Beverly Hills, CA. We can also be reached by Telephone, Zoom or Facetime. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.

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