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This Note describes the frameworks used by the courts of various states to modify joint physical custody plans when one parent wishes to relocate with the child to a different jurisdiction. The standards currently used by all states (variants of the “best interests of the child” standard) are too unpredictable, unfairly punish one parent with a substantial loss of parenting time, and fail to take into account alternative solutions that may be acceptable for all parties. Therefore, states should adopt a plan of mandated mediation, using litigation under the “best interests of the child” standard only when mediation utterly fails. This Note also argues for the increased use of guardians ad litem when such court decisions become necessary.

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