Congratulations on finalizing your divorce. You are on your way to creating a new happily ever after for you and your child(ren). If part of your new journey includes the desire to move out of state with your child, slow down, breathe, and take a pause before you sign that lease and pack your house. It’s not as simple as informing the child’s other parent that you are moving, an action that will land you in some serious legal waters. Instead, take these responsible steps to ensure your move is one that benefits your child and their future happiness.
Moving in a Mutually Agreed-Upon Situation
There are many reasons why a custodial parent may request permission from the child’s other parent to move out of state with their child. The non-custodial parent may agree to the move, but there are several factors to consider, with the foremost priority being what’s in the best interest of the child or children.
If you have a custody arrangement in place, you will need to get permission from the other parent or obtain a modification of the custody decree before you can move out of state. Even if the child’s non-custodial parent agrees to the move, you cannot simply pick up and go. Why? Because a move out of state changes the wording of your order of custody decree and needs to be amended and filed with the court. Even when both of the child’s parents agree, the move will change the nature of the original custody arrangement and must therefore be legally modified.
If you do not have a custody arrangement in place, you may need to establish one before you can legally move out of state with your child. It’s important to consult with a family law attorney who understands the state laws and terms of your custody arrangement, legal or verbal.
When the Move is Contested
In a contested hearing, the judge will determine if the reason for the request to move is a reasonable one. A custodial parent may ask to move out of state for any number of reasons such as a new job, a promotion, to be closer to family, or even a new relationship. A judge will decide if the reason is justified to approve the move.
If the move is based only on personal desire, out of spite for the other parent, or is determined not to be in the best interest of the child, the court can deny the request to move. Make sure you have a sound reason and are prepared to present your case.
Impact on Your Child
Your child must always come first when making decisions that affect both your futures. And a judge will ensure any decisions made are in the best of the child. Moving out of state may be deemed to negatively impact the child’s relationship with the other parent, current schooling agreement, healthcare, or the health of the child.
Weigh the pros and cons moving out of state will have on your child and consider the potential consequences before deciding.
When two parents, now former spouses, can come together to make an amicable decision that is in the best interest of all family members and especially the child, a change in location can be exactly what is needed for all family members to bloom and grow. So don’t approach this with pessimism. Approach it optimistically and legally.
If you or someone you know is considering moving out of state with a child, I invite you to contact me or one of the other qualified attorneys at The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates to schedule a consultation : (212) 792-9501.
Let Me Be Your Brave –
Mia Poppe, Esq.