After a divorce, you may want to leave your old life behind entirely. If you have children, however, relocating can be more complicated. That being said, moving away is not impossible, especially if you think about where you want to wind up during your divorce and your initial custody negotiations.
Some child custody agreements determine what will happen if one parent decides to move, or parents can choose to amend these agreements when the situation arises. Moving may be easier if one parent has primary physical custody, but parents can share custody from different states.
When Parents Agree
As with the majority of legal issues that arise during and after divorce, relocating is easier when both parents agree. If you tell your ex you want to move, and they do not have any objections, you can work together to create a new custody agreement that serves your children.
Some parents have the kids stay with one parent during the school year and the other during the summer and school holidays, and many parents choose to share legal custody. This means parents work together to make decisions about their children’s education, healthcare, and wellbeing — even when the children are physically with one parent or the other.
When Parents Disagree
If you talk to your ex about moving, and they do not consent to the move, you may have to return to court. Although the laws vary by state, most family law courts favor the parent who is not moving. In any situation, the court will act in your children’s best interests. If you are moving for a new job or want to be closer to a family member that can help with childcare, the court will consider these factors. Similarly, the court is unlikely to grant a move that is motivated by revenge or planned on a whim.
While one parent can always move, they may be unable to take their children with them. Some custody orders forbid one parent from moving the child out of state or a certain number of miles away. If your ex has partial custody of your children and does not want you to move, you must get court approval before moving away. Relocating your children without court approval can lead to serious legal problems and make it difficult for you to gain custody of your children in the future.
When you envision your life after divorce, do you see yourself living within 20 miles of your ex? If not, this is something you need to think about during your initial divorce and child custody proceedings. You may need to gain sole physical custody right away so you can determine where your children live and move without issue. Otherwise, you should consider where you want to live while you draft your child custody order. In any case, it is a good idea to include relocation procedures in your separation agreement. Be prepared for some difficult conversations with your ex and have a list of why your move is in the best interests of your children.
You can move away with your children — and in some cases, you can even share custody — but you will need an experienced family law attorney to help make your dream a reality.
Our legal team at Rech Law, P.C. has been helping families make changes and prepare for their futures since 2010. We can help you, too.
All you need to do is call us at (704) 659-0007 or contact us online today.