Aaron & Aaron, Attorneys at Law
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How does the Latimer test determine if a parent can relocate?

In South Carolina, as well as the rest of the world, couples are having children. Some couples are married, some are not, and still some are not even couples. When a child is brought into the world, a shift takes place, and some couples break under the pressure, others strengthen, and some, who were not couples, give co-parenting their best shot.

There is no one right decision. As long as the best interests of the child are prioritized, the parent's relationship, or lack thereof, is of little consequence when the custodial agreement is set in place.

What happens when the custodial parent decides to relocate? Well, legally, in many states, the trend is to make a determination on a case by case basis. While relocation within the state is rarely contested in South Carolina, one court case became an example and an assessment to aid in the determination of out-of-state relocation approval determination.

In 2004, the case of Farmer versus Latimer abolished the former presumption against the allowance of the custodial parent's relocation out of state. Four determining questions make it easier for the custodial parent to relocate with the child. This is the Latimer test, and it consists of four parts:

  • Would the move be economically or in other ways beneficial to the child?
  • The motivation for the move has sound reasoning behind it and is well thought out?
  • Are the reasons behind the motivation for the move by the custodial parent, as well as the noncustodial parent's motive to prevent the move, legitimate?
  • Are alternate visitation arrangements feasible and realistic, so that the noncustodial parent is still able to develop an ongoing relationship with the child?

With stakes as high as they may be in relocation cases, battles such as this can be particularly contentious. A South Carolina family law attorney should be able to look at all the factors of the relocation request and help you determine appropriate arguments either for or against the move, keeping the child's best interests as a focal point while fighting diligently for you.

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