As the custodial parent, relocating with your child is not as simple as packing your bags and moving. You may have to obtain permission from your ex-spouse (the non –custodial parent) and possibly the court for such relocation.
Where are You Relocating?
Usually, relocation within the same city from one neighborhood to another is not difficult. But if you are considering moving very far from your current city or out of the state, you have to obtain permission from your ex-spouse in writing. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to obtain an agreement that allows you to move from your spouse and you may need to get this agreement approved by the court. This is especially true if you have a court order that specifically states that you cannot move.
What the Court Wants to Know From the Relocating Parent
The judge wants to know your intention in relocating. You also have to prove to the judge that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. Perhaps, you have got a better paying job out of state that can greatly improve the quality of life of your child, or maybe the move will offer better educational and other opportunities for the child. Essentially the court has to be sure that you are not contemplating relocation to keep your ex-spouse from the child. To ensure that the non-custodial parent’s relation with the child is not affected as a result of the relocation, the court may amend visitation schedules, force you to pay for the children to travel back to visit your ex, or provide for alternative visitation such as Skype visits.
The court will consider approval of custodial child relocation if you can prove that continuing the relationship with the non-custodial parent is more harmful to the child than beneficial for certain reasons.
Can You Oppose Relocation of your Child?
Yes you can. As the non-custodial parent, if you suspect your ex-spouse intends to move, you can apply to the court to stall the move. You need to prove to the court why you feel that such relocation would negatively impact your relationship with the child. For instance, it may take more time and money to travel to the new place and such travel may not fit in easily with your current schedules, causing inconvenience. If you do not have a custody agreement or order in place and you suspect your child’s parent is planning to move outside the state of North Carolina, you need to move quickly to get a temporary custody order from the court, which will prevent your child from leaving the state.
You can also apply for modification of child custody and request the court to grant child custody to you. At any point, the objective of the court in matters of custodial relocation is to ensure that
- the child’s best interests are served and
- the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent is not unduly and negatively affected.
We at McIlveen Family Law Firm have considerable experience in dealing with custodial relocation. Whether you are interested in moving or you are the parent opposing the move, we can help you understand the law, your rights, and your likelihood of prevailing with the court.