Court-ordered child custody arrangements can work well for many years. But what happens when the custodial parent gets a new job and has to move out of state? What if the non-custodial parent opposes the move because they will lose precious visitation time with their child? In this situation, the custodial parent will likely have to go to court and ask a judge for permission to move the child out of the state. These ?move-away? cases are among the most difficult of custody cases.
Child Relocation Laws
Typically, a child cannot be removed from their state of residence without approval from the court that issued the original order. A custodial parent that wants to move a child out of state must first obtain the court?s permission. If the custodial parent moves the child without court permission and against the non-custodial parent?s wishes, the court may sanction (punish) the custodial parent with orders of contempt, which can include fines and jail time.
Can Parents Agree to the Move or Do They Always Have to Go to Court?
A move-away order allowing a parent to move a child from the state may be entered by consent of both parties or by the court after a hearing. When parents agree to an out-of-state move, they must sign a written agreement (known as a stipulation and consent agreement), which may be turned into a court order after a judge approves it.
If parents cannot agree, they can hire a lawyer trained in child custody issues who can help them attempt to resolve the matter. If this fails, the parent that wants to move will have to go to court and file a ?petition? or ?motion? asking the court to grant the request to relocate.
How Do the Courts Decide to Allow a Parent to Move Out of State?
Each state has its own laws that the courts use in move-away disputes. In general, the court must weigh the benefits of the move against the disruption of the non-custodial parent?s visitation rights.
The court will need to consider whether the out-of-state relocation is a real benefit to the child, such as an improvement to overall quality of life. If the new job opportunity would provide increased income for the custodial parent, or if there will be closer proximity to the custodial parents extended family who can help with child care and support, these factors could greatly contribute to the child?s wellbeing.
The court will have to weigh the potential benefits against the possible adverse effect on the child from reduced contact with the non-custodial parent.
Should I Hire An Attorney?
Move-away orders can be extremely complicated. If you find yourself in a situation concerning your child being taken out of state or you moving your child out of state, call 618-692-6656 or contact one of the experienced family law attorneys at Sherer Law Offices to schedule a legal consultation today.