Many newly divorced people wish to move away. A change of scenery could do a lot to help a person move on after a divorce and begin a new, independent life.
This kind of move is not so easy for a divorced parent who is subject to a child custody order, particularly in cases where the other parent objects to the move.
Both parents have rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. Even when they don’t live together, a parent has a responsibility to pay for their child’s upbringing, and so they must pay child support. However, even a parent who does not live with their child typically has some parental rights. These include the right to visit with the child and to help make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as those about the child’s education.
When the custodial parent decides to move away with the child, it can infringe on the noncustodial parent’s rights.
What can you do?
If the other parent agrees to your move, you can work out a change to the visitation schedule and other concerns, put this together in a new agreement and have both of you sign it.
If the noncustodial parent does not agree, things get more complicated. You must get permission from the court before you can move.
First, you must file a Petition to Relocate with a Child, in which you will provide detailed information about where, when and why you are moving. The other parent has a chance to file a response.
Generally, a court will allow the move if it determines that the move is in the child’s best interests. It may do this without a court hearing. In any case, the court will require modifications to the child custody arrangements that respect the other parent’s rights.