While adults typically have the right to move wherever and whenever they want to, the situation is slightly different for parents who share custody of their children. The child custody agreement is a court order, which means that if you move with your kids in violation of that order, you could incur legal consequences. If you have a good reason for wanting to move, you may be able to request a modification of your custody order. The court may approve it if it deems the relocation to be in the child’s interest.
The requirements for child custody relocation vary by state. In some states, you must demonstrate to the court that you have a good reason for wanting to relocate. In other words, you should be able to demonstrate that the benefits of relocation to the child would offset the adverse effects that the disruption would cause. Wanting to get away from your ex-spouse isn’t a reason that is likely to impress the court unless you can demonstrate that it is in the child’s interest, but wanting to continue your education, get a new or better job, or move closer to extended family for help with child care may be sufficient to grant you a modification.
Distance Versus State Lines
Some jurisdictions look at the distance you plan to travel when making decisions about child custody relocation. If the move is within 100 miles, for example, the court may be more likely to grant permission for the move even if it involves taking the child across state lines. However, a relocation of more than 100 miles may be more likely to be denied, even if it is within the same state.
In other jurisdictions, the opposite is true. Relocation is allowed within the same state with less regard paid to the distance involved, while a relocation that involves crossing state lines may be difficult to gain approval for, even if it is a relatively short distance.
Notification and Consent
Some states require you to advise the child’s other parent of the planned move in writing before it takes place. You may have to do this within a specific time frame of a month or more. Even if it is not required, you should probably inform your spouse of your intentions early in the process. Some states require your spouse to give consent to the move. If your spouse does not approve of your plans, he or she may be able to file a motion with the court asking for the relocation to be prevented.
Child custody relocation is not necessarily impossible, but it can be very difficult. A divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel J Wright, may be able to help make it easier. Contact an attorney to arrange a consultation.