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Falling U.S. migration rates may be due to divorce

Americans are more rooted than ever, according to a study, and one observer believes that divorce and child custody arrangements may be significant factors in the trend. In Colorado and throughout the United States, divorced parents typically choose to live in close proximity to each other so that they can be actively involved in their child's life. This differs significantly from divorce and custody settlements in the past.

Migration, defined for this purpose as the act of relocating to a different state, is at an all-time low. Americans are moving about 50 percent less often than in 1965, research shows. A professor at the University of Connecticut studied the migration trend in the U.S. over a decade, looking for a trend or pattern that could explain such a significant reduction. After rejecting common theories such as economic factors and home ownership rates, he discovered that today's flexible parenting plans after divorce may be the primary reason for current U.S. migration rates.

During the 1960s and 1970s, it was common practice to award sole custody to the mother. Today, however, co-parenting is common, with both mother and father receiving joint custody and working together to raise their children. Thus, parental relocation to another state is considered impractical and may result in loss of custody.

Parents who are dealing with a divorce face many difficult decisions and often have to compromise in matters of child support and parenting time. Whether a divorcing couple plans to stay in the same state or one individual would like to relocate to seek better employment or move closer to extended family, mediation may help the couple come to an amicable agreement.

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