When you and your spouse first created your child custody arrangements, you may not have anticipated that it might need to be reexamined. Depending on the provisions in your arrangement and the type of parenting plan you agreed upon, your entire plan could be upset if you or the other parent wants or needs to move to a different location. Read on for some guidance on what could happen.
A provision already exists
If you and your ex have wording in your child custody agreement that addresses the issue of moves, then you are bound by that provision. This type of provision is known as "express consent," and this custody clause will provide permission for a parent to move and address the resulting visitation schedules adjustments. If you do not have such a clause in your parenting plan. then you must acquire permission otherwise.
As long as the other parent agrees with the move, most states will permit the parent to move. Often, the moving parent will need to provide written notice to the non-custodial parent within a certain period of time before the expected move. When the other parent disagrees, it will become a case for the family court judge to determine whether or not the move is in the best interest of the child.
How great the distance
Whether you have an agreement or not might depend on how far you or your spouse wants to move. Some states won't allow parents of minor children to move out of state regardless of the other parent's permission. The closer the move, the more likely it is that the court will approve of it, particularly if the distance is only a few hours' drive.
Is there a good reason for the move?
The courts may take a close look at the reasons for the move when the other parent objects, so you must be prepared to show "good faith" reasons for the move. If the moving spouse can show proof that the move is for some of the following reasons, they may be allowed to proceed:
- Educational (for the child or for the parent).
- Job (a real offer and not just a move to try and find a job).
- Lower cost of living.
- Family (particularly if that family can help with the childcare burden).
- Medical (if the child or parent needs to be near certain medical facilities).
On the other, take care that the reason has nothing to do with the other parent. Moves that are perceived to be primarily to spite the non-custodial parent are seen as not in the best interest of the child.
If you or your ex wants to make a big move, speak to your divorce or family law firm like Crome Law Firm for guidance.