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Child Relocation: What I Need to Do Before I Move?

Child Relocation: What I Need to Do Before I Move?

So, you’re moving out of the state. Perhaps you have family who can help you with childcare or you landed your dream job. Either way, you’re excited to begin your new life and plan to take your children with you. What are the rules when it comes to relocating a child across state lines?

If you have a custody agreement or your ex-spouse has visitation rights, it can complicate your plans to move. If the distance would prevent the non-relocating parent from spending time with your child, you need their approval to take your children with you. In fact, you may need a court order permitting you to move your children out of state.

If your spouse objects to you taking your child across state lines, it’s essential to meet with one of our child relocation lawyers to know your rights and responsibilities.

What Is Your First Move?

Let’s say your ex-spouse or child’s other parent initially agrees but later changes their mind. What can you do?

First, take a breath, stay calm, and don’t engage in an argument. That is more likely to make your ex dig in and oppose you even more. You have to answer a few questions for yourself. Is the move worth it for both you and your children? Then, it’s time to focus on how the move will affect your kids.

Second, make an appointment with a family law attorney with experience in child relocation cases. An attorney familiar with how judges in your district may rule can be an invaluable asset. It’s vital to get any custody issues squared away before making a move. That may not fit in with your timeline to start a new job or begin taking classes, but it’s the only way to make a move legally and above board.

How Does the Notification Process Work?

If you plan to move out of state with your child, the requirements vary from state to state. However, many states follow the same process. Here’s an idea of what the steps look like when you want to relocate with your child.

You must follow the notification law defined by child custody laws in your state. In some states, you have to notify the non-moving parent within 60 days of your move. You can do this by filling out the appropriate paperwork, such as a Notice of Proposed Relocation sent via registered or certified mail. Your child relocation lawyer can help you understand the specific requirements, but typically, the notice will include the following information:

  • The address and home telephone number of your new home.
  • Names and ages of anyone living in the residence now and after you move in.
  • Name of the school and school district your children will attend.
  • Date and reason for the proposed relocation.
  • A proposed revision to the custody schedule.

In the notification, you include an affidavit so that your child’s other parent can explain their position and respond to the proposed custody revisions. Usually, the non-relocating parent will have a certain amount of time, perhaps 30 days, to object to the move.

If your child’s other parent objects to the move or the new custody schedule, they have 30 days to file the affidavit. Your child’s other parent has to provide you with a copy of the affidavit as well. If they fail to object within the given time frame, they may lose their right to block your relocation.

If the non-relocating spouse doesn’t object, you may need proof that you provided the notification.

In the case of an objection, the court will schedule a hearing. As the relocating parent, it’s a good idea to have a child relocation lawyer help you prepare for the hearing and defend your legal rights. In this scenario, you will need to support how the relocation will improve the quality of life of your children.

In turn, your ex will have an opportunity to present their side and explain why they object to the relocation. Finally, the court makes a decision consistent with the child’s best interest.

While the court can deny your request to relocate with your child, the court cannot prevent you from moving. Therefore, if you move, the court may decide to amend the custody order in favor of the non-relocating parent.

FAQs for Relocating a Child Out of State

Q: Can you move a child out of state without court permission if you have full custody?

A: No. To leave the state, you still must notify the other parent, and they have the right to object, even if they don’t have custody.

Q: What rights does a custodial parent have if they move out of state? 

A: You typically have to provide written notice (usually 45 to 60 days, depending on the state). The other parent has a time limit (usually 30 days) to file an objection.

Do you need help navigating your rights and responsibilities for relocating a child out of state? A trained child relocation lawyer can help you find the answers you need to make the right decision for yourself and your family.

Contact Trapp Law, LLC today to schedule a consultation regarding your specific circumstances.