How to Handle a Custodial Parent Moving Out of State

Child custody cases are often facilitated when both parents live in close proximity of each other and visitation is possible. However, what happens when one parent chooses to move out of state and take the children with them? There are a number of court stipulations for a custodial parent moving out of state that must be followed in this scenario in order to stay compliant with the law.

Firstly, the children cannot be moved out of state without the court’s and/or the other parent’s consent. Should the other parent provide their consent, they must sign a legal agreement on paper that officiates their approval. If the custodial parent moving out of state fails to bring this matter to court and is not granted approval by the other parent, then the court can sanction them with fines and even jail time for trying to escape their court ordered visitation rules.

The following excerpt from Divorce Net outlines what must occur for one custodial parent to successfully move their family out of state when visitation is involved.

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 can’t agree, they can hire a co-parenting counselor or mediator trained in child custody issues who can help them attempt to resolve the matter. If mediation fails, the parent that wants to move will have to go to court and file a “petition” or “motion” (legal paperwork) asking the court to grant the request to relocate.

The court will only grant permission to move the child if there is a legitimate reason for the move. If the custodial parent moving out of state is considered to be infringing on the rights to custody of the other parent, then the court has the ability to penalize them for this. Divorce Net also lists some of the reasons that the court would validate a request to move out of state.

However, it is likely that a court will consider whether the out-of-state relocation constitutes a real benefit to the child, such as an improvement in the overall quality of life due to:

  • a new job opportunity or increased income for the custodial parent
  • closer proximity to the custodial parent’s extended family who can help with child-care and support
  • an educational opportunity, or
  • a new marriage.

If the custodial parent moving out of state has a genuine reason that they are required to move out of state, then the court will most likely grant them permission to do so.

If you need legal assistance in a child custody situation, the attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo would be happy to help you. We have many years of experience in family law, and want to help you fight for your rights. Whether you are a custodial parent moving out of state, or you children are being moved without your consent, we encourage you to request a free consultation from us.

Do you think that a custodial parent should be allowed to move out of state without the court’s consent? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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