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Divided parents, shared children
Conflicting approaches to relocation disputes in the USA

Author:

Theresa Glennon

Abstract

Custody relocation disputes pose intractable dilemmas for courts in a highly mobile society. The custodial parent, most often a woman, seeks self-determination, freedom of movement and a continued custodial relationship with the child. The non-custodial parent seeks to preserve a geographically close relationship with the child. Courts must identify the best interests of the children amidst these multiple and conflicting interests. They make decisions that may determine the course of custodial parents’ lives, affecting remarriage, employment, education, and proximity to family. A narrow doctrinal focus on children’s best interests ignores these key aspects of relocation disputes.
This article examines the varied legislative and judicial approaches to relocation disputes in the US and proposed principles for resolution of these disputes. It reviews scholarship analyzing relocation disputes from a wide range of perspectives, including: conflicting social science research; competing ideologies of the post-divorce family; alternative dispute resolution; parents’ constitutional rights; domestic violence victims; and proposals to eliminate geographic presumptions and remedy the economic effect of restraints on relocation. Relocation doctrine in the US should be realigned to address these complex perspectives. States should also assist post-divorce families to support children through the common experience of relocation.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.66
How to Cite: Glennon, T., (2008). Divided parents, shared children
Conflicting approaches to relocation disputes in the USA. Utrecht Law Review. 4(2), pp.55–72. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ulr.66
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Published on 03 Jun 2008.
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