Is It Time To Move On? Child Custody And Moves

A huge part of a divorce that involves minor children is the parenting plan. This agreement comprises the vital facets of child custody, child visitation, and child support. Whether you and your spouse got together and made your own plan, or the judge made the decisions for you, any aspect of a divorce that involves children is never truly closed. Read on to find out what might happen if a parent decides to move away with a minor-aged child.

Taking a Proactive Approach

Most comprehensive parenting plans use the opportunity to make provisions for several "just in case" scenarios like moves. Keep in mind that just because one parent has full physical custody of the child doesn't lessen the powers of the non-custodial parent to observe court-ordered visitations with that child. In the case of a move, the provision sets out the standards and they usually involve the cooperation of both parents. There may be rules about:

  1. How much notice has to be provided to the non-custodial parent before a move is carried out.
  2. How far away the child can be taken from the non-custodial parent.
  3. How old the child has to be before a move can take place. Some states prohibit children under a certain age from being moved away from the non-custodial parent.
  4. The reason for the move must show an improvement in the life of the child and not necessarily the adult parent.

When Parents Disagree

If no move provision exists in the parenting plan, or a parent disagrees with the move, the parent has the right to file a motion to have a judge decide. The courts want to see children of divorce spend time with both parents as this is seen as good for the child. Moving the child away from one parent against that parent's wishes may not garner the permission of the judge. The judge will need to see proof of a compelling reason for denying the non-custodial parent visitation access. Here are a few common reasons parents may give for making a move that might prove to be worthwhile for the child:

  • Medical reasons – to be nearer to special medical facilities for the child or for the parent.
  • Cost of living – the parent can show that a lower cost of living in a new location could positively affect the well-being of the child.
  • Education – to be nearer to educational resources for the child or the parent.
  • Family – to be nearer to other family members.

To learn more about this issue, speak to a family law attorney like those at Cragun Law Firm.