After a divorce, many people want to start fresh by relocating for the following reasons:
- Proximity to family
- Housing requirements
- Job offers
Relocation becomes complicated if you share custody of children with your former spouse. The court’s opinion will override your desires concerning where you live, even if your former spouse agrees to your move. Consider the following before finalizing a move after your divorce:
Inform the Other Parent
Anyone who has joint custody of a child is required to provide the other parent with written, detailed notification of the proposed move via certified mail. The other parent must issue a formal, written response.
If Both Parents Approve
When both parents agree that a proposed move by one parent is beneficial for the child, they can jointly issue a formal request to the court for a revised custody agreement, even if it involves the child moving out-of-state. The court ultimately decides what is in the child’s best interest.
If One Parent Disapproves
The parent hoping to relocate with the child must provide the court with proof that the move will improve the child’s life significantly. This is critical if the other parent objects to changes in visitation or custody arrangements that the move will create.
When the Court Approves
The court may approve a move that involves relocating a child, despite vehement objections from one parent. The decision may not be due to the court’s misgivings about one parent’s suitability. Instead, there may be overwhelming evidence that the move can provide the child with a better lifestyle. For out of state moves, the court may modify the custody arrangement whereby the parent that moves with the child receives full physical custody. The parent that remains in place retains joint legal custody and may receive extended vacations and virtual contact with the child.
When the Court Disapproves
After careful consideration, the court may deny a parent’s request to move away with a child. When this happens, the court may not prevent the parent from moving. Such moves may be unavoidable or involve job requirements. The court must then adjust the custody agreement by granting sole physical custody to the non-moving parent and extending appropriate visitation privileges to the parent moving away.
As soon as you decide to separate from your spouse, seek guidance from an attorney, like a divorce attorney from The McKinney Law Group. If you have children, this will increase your chances of coming to an amicable agreement.