It’s fairly common for individuals to wish to move or relocate after a divorce. However, this process can become complicated if there are children involved. Your decision to move could have a significant impact on child visitation and custody rights, and your former partner or the courts might attempt to keep you from moving at all.
Before you decide to move, your first step should be to go back through your divorce and custody paperwork and see if there are any travel restrictions in place. Such restrictions could limit your ability to take your child beyond a certain geographical area. The terms of your custody agreement might also make it necessary for the custodial parent to give the noncustodial parent a formal written notice of his or her intention to relocate, giving that parent a chance to file an objection. You might even have to file a petition within the court system to get permission to move with your child.
If you relocate with your child without having gone through the proper legal processes, you risk being considered in contempt of court, which could lead to significant fines, jail time or both. As a noncustodial parent, you have the right to file an objection to block a move or petition to modify the agreement so that the other parent can move, with you retaining primary custody.
Ultimately, courts will decide whether a parent is allowed to move or not based on the best interests of the child. They will consider factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, how a move would impact the child’s education and upbringing, financial impacts, logistics and the ultimate reason why the move is taking place.
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