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Health & Balance

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Post-Divorce Move Can Be Bad For Kids

But Parents Can Lessen the Effects of Divorce on Children

What's Best For The Child?

In 1996, the California State Supreme Court handed down a decision that has set a nationwide precedent -- allowing a custodial parent to move away with their child, Fabricius tells WebMD. "That has influenced many other states to essentially make it easier for custodial parents to move."

In that case, several social psychologists and legal scholars weighed in their expert opinions, arguing that "more often than not, it's in the best interest of the child to relocate if it benefits the custodial parent," says Fabricius.

"In essence, they said that what's good for the custodial parent is therefore good for the child -- which implies that a well-established and cared-for home is more important than contact with the non-custodial parent," he adds.

But Relocation Can Work

How you handle the relocation decision should depend, to some extent, on the child's age, says Kaslow. If the "child" is a high school senior, let him or her stay with a friend from their old school, she says.

"Talk to the child upfront about the reasons for the relocation," she tells WebMD. "Don't just spring it on them. Have them be part of the process, go with you to choose the house they're going to live in."

Also, the child should talk with both parents every day, either on the phone or via email. This will help minimize any effects of divorce on children, she says.

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