A lot of people move after a divorce — for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you want to go back to your hometown to be closer to friends and family, or maybe you want to move away from your hometown to start over.
Unfortunately, if you have custody of your children, moving before you have the consent of the court can throw you into a legal nightmare. Learn more about child relocation laws before you start.
You need to review your custody agreement
Before you can even think about relocating, you need to look at your custody agreement to see what geographical limitations are imposed. In rare cases, the court may leave it unstated — but it isn’t unusual to see a custody agreement that specifically limits your geographical range with the child to a specific area, number of miles or county.
Even if a geographical area isn’t outlined in your agreement, you can’t simply relocate anywhere you want. You still can’t relocate out of state or at a significant distance without permission.
The court wants children to have the benefit of a relationship with both parents. Any move that could affect the other parent’s ability to maintain that relationship with the same ease could be restricted.
You may need to argue your case in court
If the other parent doesn’t agree to the move, you will need to present your reasons for wanting to relocate to the court. Since the court is primarily concerned with the needs of your children, you need to show how your move would positively affect them. For example:
- Relocating in order to take a better job would benefit your children economically
- Relocating to be closer to family can benefit your children by giving them more caretakers and important family relationships
Essentially, you will have to convince the court that your request to move is not simply designed to limit the other parent’s visitation abilities.
Relocating with your child could end up putting your custody in peril if it isn’t handled properly. The court can even give primary physical custody to the other parent in response — so don’t take the risk. An attorney can discuss your reasons for wanting to move and help you navigate the process.