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Motion to Relocate

Once a custody order is issued by a Family Court Judge, that Judge retains the authority and jurisdiction to modify, vacate or change that order upon a showing that it is in the child's best interests to do so. When a custody order contains provisions for joint legal custody, a custodial parent wishing to relocate must either obtain the permission and consent of the non-custodial parent or permission from the court.

Under Nevada law, a movant must satisfy two conditions in order to relocate:

1. That the custodial parent must have a good faith reason for the move, i.e., a reason that is not designed to frustrate visitation of the noncustodial parent; and
2. That the Schwartz factors favor a move, focusing particularly on the possibility of alternative and reasonable visitation schedules.

Pursuant to the Schwartz test, the Court must weigh (1) the extent to which the proposed move is likely to improve the quality of life for the child and parent; (2) whether the motive for the move is "honorable" and not designed to frustrate or defeat visitation rights to the non-custodian; (3) whether, if the move is allowed, the custodial parent will comply with substitute visitation orders; (4) whether the non-custodian's motives are honorable in resisting the motion to move, or if it is simply intended to secure a financial advantage as to support or otherwise; and (5) whether, if the move is allowed, there is a realistic opportunity for a visitation schedule that will adequately foster and preserve the relationship with the non-custodial parent.

In Nevada, a relocation matter is commenced with the filing of a "Motion to Relocate." Once filed, a hearing date and time will be set. On the date of the hearing, the moving party must show a prima facie case, that is: (1) there is a good faith reason for the move; and (2) the Schwartz factors are likely to be satisfied if a trial is held. If that can be shown at the hearing, the Judge in the matter will then have the option of setting a trial date or sending the parties to mediation, or both at the same time.

If you are sent to mediation, you and your ex will be compelled to negotiate in good faith in an effort to agree to terms regarding the proposed relocation. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the matter proceeds to trial.

At trial, evidence will be presented and arguments made with the purpose of showing that the appropriate burden has been met and the relocation request is warranted. If the Judge grants a the custodial parent permission to relocate, that order then becomes final and can only be modified according to the principles the Court has enunciated with respect to both a change of custody and relocation.