Migration rates in the United States have been falling over the past 50 years, and one man believes he knows why. He spent the spring of 2015 on a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands researching the issue, and the answer may lie in modern divorce trends. More importantly, the decrease in migration may be linked to child custody.
Today, more parents have joint custody of their children when compared to the 1960s or 1970s when mothers were most likely to get custody. Today, fathers generally stay closer to their kids to be more involved in their lives. If they do move out of state, they may jeopardize their custody rights, which means less migration occurs. As defined for this purpose, migration is moving from one state to another.
As migration is a learned experience, it is thought that migration rates may decline even further as children are not forced to relocate while growing up. It is also thought that this may lead to more homogenized communities moving forward.
While keeping the child in a familiar area may be in his or her best interest, parental relocation may be permissible in certain circumstances. For instance, it may be allowed if a parent is moving to find work or live closer to other family members. If relocation may jeopardize a parent’s rights, he or she may wish to speak with an attorney. It may be possible to work toward amending a parenting plan or child custody arrangement to accommodate a move if there is a good reason for it.