Relocation of children after divorce and children's best interests: new evidence and legal considerations

J Fam Psychol. 2003 Jun;17(2):206-19. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.17.2.206.


Relocation cases, in which a divorced parent seeks to move away with the child, are among the knottiest problems facing family courts. The recent trend is to permit such moves, largely because of Wallerstein's (1995) controversial amica curiae brief, which a recent court (Baures v. Lewis, 2001) interpreted as supporting the conclusion that "in general, what is good for the custodial parent is good for the child" (p. 222). The current study provides the first direct evidence on relocation by dividing college students into groups on the basis of their divorced parents' move-away status. On most child outcomes, the ones whose parents moved are significantly disadvantaged. This suggests courts should give greater weight to the child's separate interests in deciding such cases.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Custody / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Divorce / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States