What to Do Before Relocating When Child Custody Is Involved

You are going through a divorce, you and your former spouse have child custody and visitation agreements, and you have primary custody of the child. Next, you decide you want to move and take your child with you. Maybe you get a new job, you want to move closer to family, or you need a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, if you decide to relocate, there are steps you must take to make sure you are still abiding by the agreements made with your former spouse.

1. Send a Notice of Intent to Relocate

If you are planning to relocate, you must provide your former spouse with notice. The notice must be given at least 60 days prior to the intended relocation. You must send a notice via certified mail with a return receipt requested and should include the proposed action of relocation, including the date and location of the move, while being specific about the address of the new residence. You must also include specific reasons for the relocation and propose a revision in custody and visitation agreements. Inform the other parent they have 30 days after receiving this notice to file a motion with the court opposing the move. If they agree with the move and the proposed changes, they must submit an affidavit to the court, signed by all parties, agreeing to the new terms.

2. Consider Disagreement or Opposition

If the other parent opposes or does not agree to the terms of your relocation, you must get permission from the court. This is the point when a family law attorney would be most useful. If the case goes to court, it will usually involve a hearing in which the court determines what is in the best interest of the child. When determining what is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider the following:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s relationship with both parents
  • The parent’s interest in the child’s needs
  • The distance of the move
  • The reasons for the move
  • Whether the move will provide the child a better life
  • The possibility of shared custody after the move
  • If old enough, the child’s wishes

After considering what is in the child’s best interest, the court will ultimately decide whether to allow relocation. If it is allowed, the new custody and visitation agreements can be arranged and approved by the court.

3. Contact an Attorney

The process of requesting relocation and getting it granted can be stressful and daunting. Having an experienced family lawyer on your team can help to make the process as smooth and easy as possible for you. At the Kirker Davis LLP, we understand you are already going through a lot, and we want to help you as much as we can. Contact our office today at (512) 598-0010 to learn more about what we can do for you.