Moving to another state with children can be stressful and hectic. It can also get extremely complicated if you are divorced and you share custody with your ex-spouse.
If you are considering moving out of state, first look at your custody arrangements to see if it is possible and what steps need to be taken prior to considering the move. These types of ‘move-away’ cases can be some of the most complicated types of arguments.
Before moving the child to a different state or even county the parent must have the court where the original custody order was created to approve the move. The custodial parent is not allowed to move the child without prior permission from the court and the approval of the non-custodial parent. If the custodial parent moves the child without these permissions, the court could find the custodial parent in contempt of court, meaning the custodial parent could face paying a fine and possibly time in jail. The judge may even alter the current custody situation that gives the noncustodial parent more rights. Seeking the assistance of a family law firm is critical to ensure your custody rights and the well-being of the child is fully taken into consideration when approving or disapproving an out-of-state move.
Both Parents are Okay with the Move
If Parents Agree to the move and a modified custody arrangement, the court will likely approve the move if they see that it is in the best interests of the child. Both parents must sign a document called a consent and stipulation agreement, which is submitted to the court once it is approved by the judge.
One Parent is Not in Agreement with the Move
The first solution the parents should attempt is to use a counselor or a mediator with experience in custody issues. They can work with the parents to see if there is a resolution that appeals to both parents. If the mediation does not work, the parent who wants to move needs to file a motion with the court asking them for permission to relocate.
What Does the Court Look at When Granting Approval for the Move?
The decision of the court will be dependant on the laws of the state where the motion is filed. A large factor is how much the move will disrupt the current custody visitation arrangement for the non-custodial parent. Other considerations include:
- Will the move improve the general quality of life and benefit the child?
- Is the parent moving because of a new job opportunity that will raise the amount of money the custodial parent is earning?
- Does the custodial parent wish to move closer to extended family to assist in taking care of the child?
- Is there an opportunity for the custodial parent to enroll in a higher education program?
- Is the custodial parent remarrying?
The judge will look at all the potential benefits of moving and weigh them against any negative effects that may occur because the child will have less contact with the non-custodial parent.
The judge’s decision will also hinge on the laws of the state. Contact an experienced family law attorney to handle any questions concerning the relocation of a custodial parent and child to another state. By enlisting the assistance of a child custody attorney you can be sure your rights are protected and the best interests of the child are always a priority.