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Out-of-State Moves

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The right of a custodial parent to move out of state with a child varies from state to state. In the past, most states generally allowed custodial parents to move, but many states now restrict the custodial parent's rights because of an emphasis on equal rights for parents in raising children.

In divorce, courts may try to preserve the relationships between children and parents with joint child custody. Some states have specific conditions that must be met before a parent may relocate out of state with the child.  

Divorce laws in your state or the original child custody order may prevent a parent from moving out of state with a child unless the other parent or the court gives written permission. Many state custody laws require that parents be given plenty of notice about out-of-state moves, allowing the noncustodial parent time to object in court.

Factors Considered when Allowing an Out-of-State Move

    The purpose of relocating must be for a good-faith reason. Examples of good-faith reasons include moves for work, getting a better job, being closer to extended family or joining a new spouse.
    Objection by the other parent may prevent the out-of-state move. The court may not allow the move if it would disrupt frequent visitation or affect the child's relationship with the other parent.
    Benefits for the child may encourage the courts to consider the request to relocate. If a parent can provide evidence the child's health, educational opportunities and general well-being would be improved, the parent's request to relocate is more likely to be granted.
    Maintaining visitation and relationships influence the court's decision to allow the move. Child support may be reduced or the parent requesting the move may be ordered to cover travel expenses for visitation if the move is allowed.
    A child's attachment to the current community and school may play a role in a court's decision about allowing a move.

If parents have joint physical custody of a child who spends significant time with both parents, the court may attempt to decide which parent and location will be in the best interest of the child and modify child custody accordingly.

Discuss Out-of-State Moves with a Divorce Lawyer

If you are a custodial parent or parent with joint child custody and considering an out-of-state move with a child, speak with a local divorce attorney today about your options. A divorce lawyer in your area can also offer advice if you are a parent who opposes the move of the other parent.

Total Divorce can help you connect with a divorce attorney to discuss child custody in divorce. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to set up a preliminary consultation with a local divorce lawyer. If you have a child custody case that doesn't involve divorce, Total Divorce can still connect you with a local attorney to learn more about family law.

The above synopsis of child custody laws is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to serve as legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these child custody laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.