Child Custody and Relocation Laws
Whether you’re the custodial parent or not, relocating can put a wrench in your custody and visitation schedule. Laws regarding relocation with the issues of child custody vary from state to state, but what remains the same is the court will do what is in the best interest of the child. If the child’s needs are not met to a greater degree by the relocation, the state may require the custodial parent to remain or give up custody.
Express Consent During Custody Proceedings
Sometimes the parents think ahead to potential issues and sometimes they know there could be a move in the foreseeable future. In either case, the parents of a child can make an express consent agreement during the child custody proceedings. This consent agreement typically comes in the form of a child custody plan clause and will explicitly state that each parent gives permission for the other to relocate and for the visitation schedule to be altered.
Written Notice and Consent
If there was not an express consent agreement, but the relocating parent feels the other will be amicable about the situation, he or she can write up a notice outlining the intention to move. This has to be done within a certain time period before the actual move. The non-custodial parent would then have to consent to the move for it to take place. If he or she does not consent, a motion would need to be filed that would seek to prevent the move.
Determinations Based on Distance
If your child custody agreement says you can’t move your child across state lines, it holds true even if you live within a half-mile of the border to begin with. If you are not allowed to move your child further than 100 miles, the same holds true even if the new location falls within the state. These distance-based determinations can be frustrating for a custodial parent who needs to move, but with written notice and consent, you may be able to get around them.
Good Faith Burden of Proof
It’s also possible to get permission to move your child beyond the guidelines set forth in the custody agreement if there are good-faith reasons for the relocation. For example, the child might be given an opportunity to live in a safer area or closer to extended family members who could assist in childcare. Other good faith reasons include the parent starting a new job that would significantly improve the child’s life, or an opportunity for the parent to continue his or her education.
Learning More About Relocation
It’s not always black and white when it comes to child custody. If you are faced with the need to relocate as a custodial parent, contact a family law attorney, like a family law attorney in Arlington, TX, to learn more about what you should do next.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into child custody and relocation laws.