How to handle a move-away case in New York family court.

Understanding Move-Away Cases in New York Family Court

In New York, a move-away case often arises when a custodial parent decides to relocate to a distant location, significantly impacting the non-custodial parent's visitation rights and the child's relationship with that parent. Navigating these cases requires an understanding of the legal landscape, as well as a strategic approach to court proceedings.

Legal Framework in New York

The seminal case on relocation in New York is Tropea v. Tropea, which sets forth the factors courts must consider when deciding relocation cases. These factors include:

Initiating a Move-Away Case

If you are a custodial parent considering relocation, you must petition the court for permission to move with your child. This is done by filing a modification petition in family court. You must demonstrate that the move is in the best interest of your child, not just your own convenience or preference.

Defending Against a Move-Away Case

As a non-custodial parent, if you oppose the relocation, you will need to respond to the petition and present your case as to why the move would not be in your child's best interest. Providing evidence of strong ties to your child and how relocation might detrimentally affect your relationship is crucial.

Preparation for Court Proceedings

Gather evidence such as communication logs, visitation records, and expert testimony regarding your child's needs. It is also advisable to document how you plan to facilitate visitation if you're proposing the move or how you believe visitation can be maintained if you're opposing it.

Legal Representation

Both parties are strongly encouraged to seek legal representation due to the complexities involved in move-away cases. An experienced family law attorney can help present your case effectively and navigate through the intricate legal process.


Move-away cases are complex and emotionally charged, requiring a careful balancing of interests between parents while prioritizing the welfare of the child. Whether seeking or opposing a relocation, it is essential to engage with the legal process thoughtfully and proactively.