Life can be surprising, which can lead to you making various unexpected decisions. For example, many people suddenly decide to move, even though they have never considered it before. But then, they have found a perfect job opportunity in another city or wish to seek their family’s emotional support. However, things can get complicated when family matters collide with your personal decisions.
According to divorce and custody experts from the Survive Divorce website, the situation can get especially dicey if you are a primary custodial parent. In such a case, you might need to seek permission to relocate the children, set up a new visitation schedule, request new orders from the court, and think about many other things in the best interest of your kids. A non-custodial parent also has some responsibilities to address, such as proving to the court that the move will not damage their relationship with the children.
In this article, we take a closer look at move-away situations, answer if one parent can move away without the other parent’s approval, and explain what steps you can take to make the whole process less challenging. Let’s get started.
What Is a Move-Away Situation?
A move-away situation is when a custodial parent plans to relocate with the children. The non-custodial parent’s rights and responsibilities are not impacted by this process, unless they have been set forth by the court in a parenting plan.
However, parents usually plan such moves together to avoid any potential conflict and make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. As long as you have a good reason, the move is usually not a big issue. But, what if you want to relocate without the other parent’s approval?
Can One Parent Move Away Without the Other Parent’s Approval?
Technically, the answer is “yes,” but it is a little complicated. If you are a primary custodial parent who wishes to move away without the non-custodial parent’s approval, you will need to seek a court’s permission. In most states, there are two options:
- You can ask the court to modify the custody order and agree on a new visitation schedule.
- You can file a new custody petition and ask the judge to approve your move.
If you are going to ask the court to modify the custody order first, you need to prove that your move will not harm the child’s best interest. For example, if your ex-husband has a criminal record or a history of domestic violence, you might have good reasons to move away from him. If you wish to change the visitation schedule, you need to prove that moving out will not hurt your child but benefit them.
On the other hand, if you are going to file a new petition asking the court for permission to move out, you need to prove that your move will not endanger your child’s health and welfare. Moreover, if you wish to relocate your child from one state to another, you need to prove that they will still maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent.
The parents could also agree on a mutual relocation and change their custody agreement, for example, to have joint custody while living in another location. But, in some situations, one parent may disagree with the proposed move and insist on maintaining sole control over their children. In this case, you should talk with an experienced family law attorney about finding a way out of this difficulty.
Can I Move My Child Without My Ex’s Approval?
Parents are usually allowed to make choices about their children’s lives and upbringing. As such, if you are a primary custodial parent who wishes to relocate your kids from one place to another, it is your right to do so. However, you must inform the other parent about your plans since they will be affected by your choices.
When it comes to maintaining relationships with kids after relocating them, it is necessary that you obtain written permission from the non-custodial parent. You will also need to demonstrate that relocation does not harm your child’s emotional and physical health in any way. Moreover, if you are going to move outside of the country and/or do not intend to return within six months or more, the non-custodial parent might gain full custody.
Will My Child Keep The Same Custodian After Moving?
It depends on whether the parents could agree about such a change or whether they have full custody of their child. Most parents usually agree on keeping their custody arrangement as it was. But, if one of them disagrees with this option and insists on obtaining full custody of their child after relocation, they can do so by filing a new custody petition. It is vital they have solid reasons for it since such actions can negatively affect everyone involved.
As you can see, the answer to whether one parent can move away is far from simple. When parents are still together and have good communication, it is usually not a big problem. The situation can get complicated when one parent decides to relocate without informing the other about it. You should always bear your children’s best interest in mind when making any life-changing decisions.
If you are a non-custodial parent who wants to stop the move-away plans, you should talk with an experienced family law attorney who can help you resolve this situation. On the other hand, if you are a primary custodial parent who wishes to relocate your kids without the other parent’s permission, you need to be aware of the legal steps you need to take and how to represent yourself in court. This way, you will avoid future complications and can feel more confident about your decision.