Relocation and Custody

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Relocating a great distance with children is never an easy decision. You are essentially uprooting them from their home, their friends, their activities, and their schools. However, there may be compelling reasons to move, like a job opportunity someplace else, a new marriage, or a desire for a lifestyle change.

On top of this, you have to consider the children’s other parent. In fact, child custody arrangements can become highly contested when one parent moves far away. This is because the other parent will very likely see the child less frequently, because both parents may not see eye-to-eye about what is best for the child, and because it can become expensive to make travel arrangements for visits to occur.

When No Child Custody Orders Exist

It is not entirely uncommon for newly separated parents, or parents who were never together during the child’s life to lack, child custody orders. In this case, either parent technically has the right to move and live wherever they want with the child. This is because there is no enforceable order in effect that would instruct a court or law enforcement as to parental rights.

However, the absence of custody orders does not mean a parent should relocate with children without an agreement. This is especially true of newly separated parents who have not yet reached an agreement or filed custody pleadings, or regarding parents who have been involved in their children’s lives. This is because once the matter actually goes before a court, the court will consider the best interest of the children. And the last thing a parent wants is to appear that they have acted improperly and inappropriately restricted the other parent’s access to the child.

If There Are Existing Child Custody Orders

The existence of a child custody order generally adds predictability to the prospect of relocation. Child custody orders generally contain provisions accounting for how significant changes should be resolved. This may include requiring an agreement between parents or approval from the court to move the child a great distance away.

If there are existing court orders, the absolute last thing that a parent wants to do is to violate those orders in relocating a child. Violations of child custody orders can lead to sanctions, modification or parental rights, or even parental kidnapping charges. The best course of action for any parent seeking to relocate with the children is to consult with an attorney to either seek court approval or to file for a modification of custody orders. Whether seeking approval or a modification, the ultimate question the court will look at is the best interest of the children.

Contact New Direction Family Law

At New Direction Family Law, we take child custody matters incredibly seriously. We know what your children mean to you and want to provide you with a strong legal advocate. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate about what we do. If you want a strong, smart attorney by your side contact New Direction Family Law for assistance. Call us at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or contact us online at our website.