What to know about custodial parent moving out of state? As a custodial parent, the decision of whether or not to move out of state can be an incredibly difficult choice. Whether you are considering moving for employment opportunities or wishing to move closer to family and friends, the process can be complex and involve evaluating multiple legal issues related to who has custody over your children, the terms of any existing court orders, and more.
As an attorney representing custodial parents in this process, we strive to provide specialized counsel on all relevant matters so our clients make informed decisions with confidence going forward.
To better understand what it entails when a custodial parent moving out of state, please read through this blog post which provides helpful information regarding pertinent laws and necessary steps that must be taken in order for such a situation to occur successfully.
What is Custodial Parent?
In the legal context, custodial parent refers to a legal guardian who is responsible for taking care of a child. The custodial parent will typically have physical and/or legal responsibility over their children’s wellbeing and development.
When a Custodial Parent Wishes to Relocate With Their Child, Legal Permission Is Required
All too often, custodial guardians must seek approval – whether it’s from the other parent or a court official – prior to uprooting their family and relocating them away from the present area.
In some cases, these limitations are mandated by existing state laws; however they can also be found within custody orders that become part of a divorce decree or while temporary restraining orders during the course of proceedings.
Legal permission is also applied in case of noncustodial parent moving out of state.
State Laws Restricting Relocations With Children
It’s a legal requirement for certain states that parents provide notification and receive approval from the other parent or a court prior to moving their child, specifically custodial parent moving out of state.
These laws are applicable when relocating out of state, whereas some may also stretch in cases where the move is within-state but over a large distance. As an example:
- In Nevada, if a parent has primary physical custody of their child, they must receive either permission from the other parent or court authorization before relocating outside Nevada or elsewhere in the state if it is far enough to “significantly hinder” the non-custodial parent’s ability to maintain an ongoing relationship with their kid. (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 125C.006 (2022).)
- In Arizona, when parents are both living in the state and have joint legal custody or shared parenting time, any parent who desires to relocate their child – whether it be out-of-state or within Arizona more than 100 miles away – must give 45 days’ advance notice to the other parent. If they do not agree with this relocation, the nonmoving parent can submit a petition to court requesting that it prevent such move (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-408 (2022).)
- In Florida, for parents who desire to move with their children more than 50 miles away from the primary residence, written permission must be granted by the other parent or anyone entitled to time-sharing rights. If no consent is given, a court proceeding can be filed in order to seek approval from a judge. (Fla. Stat. § 61.13001 (2022).)
- In Minnesota, according to Minnesota Statute 518.175 (2022), when the non-custodial parent has parenting time, it is illegal for the custodial parent to move the child’s residence out of state without obtaining a court order or express consent from their former partner.
When rendering a judgment concerning the decision of whether to permit relocation, these state laws usually delineate criteria that should be examined thoroughly.
Relocation Restrictions in Custody Orders or Agreements
Although many states do not explicitly require permission before relocating with a child, certain jurisdictions may still impose similar limitations in divorce decrees or custody orders.
When parents have agreed on a divorce settlement that outlines custody terms and coparenting plans, those provisions often become part of their overall divorce judgment.
However, if the agreement includes stipulations about what will happen should the noncustodial parent move with their child – such as automatically changing custody without legal review to determine whether it is in the child’s best interests — then these clauses may not be legally binding as they conflict with existing state laws.
Temporary Restraining Orders During Divorce Proceedings
Once a divorce petition is filed, it’s not uncommon for the court to issue “temporary restraining orders” (TROs) that ensure each parent keeps access to their child. These TROs usually restrict either spouse from transferring a child out of state without getting authorization from the other partner first.
In some states, restraining orders automatically take effect as soon as one of the spouses initiates a divorce. California is an example; when submitting their summons (ie. divorce papers), they must include an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order that forbids either spouse to remove their child from the state or apply for a passport without prior written consent or court order.(Cal. Fam Code §2040 2022).
So if you’re filing for divorce in California, be aware that this type of TRO will be put into action right away and remain until further notice by the court.
What Consequences Will a Parent Face if They Relocate with Their Child Without Obtaining the Required Authorization?
If parents transfer their child without following the legal regulations or mandates, they could be subject to grave penalties including:
- Ignoring a court-mandated custody order can result in hefty fines, jail time or both.
- Additionally, if the other parent requests a revision of primary physical custody due to the move – criminal charges such as parental abduction could be brought against you.
If you plan to travel or relocate with your child, be certain that you are aware of any authorization requirements. Examine the custody order (which may also be a part of the divorce decree) for details concerning any possible stipulations.
If your divorce proceedings are still in progress, take time to read all documents thoroughly for indications of restrictions on moving or traveling with a child.
Keep on reading for more information of custodial parent moving out of state.
Reasons Why a Co-Parent or Judge Will Question A Custodial Parent Moving Out of State with Children
When there is joint or sole physical custody of a child, the motivation behind relocating across state lines holds validity and can be justified. As such, it should be allowed for children to move out of their home state with relative ease.
In determining if a custodial parent can lawfully move their child out of state, both co-parents and judges must evaluate the legitimacy of the relocation against ensuring necessary stability for the child.
After all, divorce is difficult enough for children to go through without adding any further complications. Your ex-spouse and family court judge are within their rights to consider this fact before making any decisions about moving your child away from home.
When children are uprooted and relocated to another state following a divorce, it can cause them immense distress. Kids usually prefer the stability of living in their old home while attending the same school they did prior to separation. Moving soon after a divorce is often met with much more resistance than if you wait several years before relocating.
Judges tend to be reluctant to approve a relocation if the motivation is simply for a new experience, rather than for an imperative purpose.
How Do Courts Determine if a Custodial Parent is Permitted to Relocate?
When navigating any child custody matter, courts must adhere to their respective state laws when determining whether a custodial parent may move with the children or if modifications should be made in favor of the non-moving party.
With that being said, since law concerning relocations and legal guardianship vary from one jurisdiction to another, judges are obliged to take into account distinct factors depending on where you were divorced (or wherein your previous order was issued).
Indeed, judges will assess the gains and disadvantages of a move based on what is best for the child. To illustrate this further, when carefully calculated, a move might raise the overall quality of life for a kid because it could provide them with:
- when the custodial parent takes on new employment or educational opportunities in a different location, their income will inevitably grow.
- being in closer proximity to the custodial parent’s extended family members, who can provide assistance with childcare and offer emotional/moral support.
- The custodial parent’s new marriage could bring invaluable advantages to the child, enriched with a two-parent family.
In contrast, the court must weigh any potential unfavorable repercussions of the proposed relocation on a child’s emotional and physical health—particularly if it would lead to decreased communication with their noncustodial parent.
State laws may vary on the right of custodial parent moving out of state with their child, but in some jurisdictions there is an underlying presumption that this right exists unless proven otherwise by the other parent. In others however, it falls upon the moving parent to show why relocation would be beneficial for the child’s welfare. And then of course there are those states where neither side has priority when it comes to relocating children.
When judges are deciding whether a parent can move with their child or to grant the other parent’s request for custody change due to the relocation, state laws require them to consider specific factors. Typically, these considerations include:
- Moving away has a tremendous effect on the child’s capacity to remain close and connected with their other parent, especially when there is an expansive distance between them. Finances also play a crucial role in allowing long-distance visitations for both parents.
- It does not matter if the custodial parent has a valid reason for moving or is attempting to obstruct the other parent from seeing their child, both are unacceptable.
- It is essential to assess the motives behind a noncustodial parent’s refusal of relocation. Are they truly worried about the potential negative impacts on their relationship with their child, or are they simply hoping for a reduction in child support payments?
- The child’s requirement for consistency in their other connections, such as at school, with friends, and within religious communities must also be taken into consideration.
- In the event of a custody dispute (including case custodial parent moving out of state), if the child is mature enough to form an opinion about which parent they would prefer to stay with, then that preference should be respected.
Are there any limitations on relocating with my child to another state without the father’s consent in Maryland?
If you are a parent in Maryland, it is essential that you provide notice and acquire consent or court authorization before transferring your child’s permanent residence within the state or outside of it.
Can the court stop a parent from moving?
It’s vital to keep in mind that while a court can reject the parent’s petition to move away with their child, they cannot limit the parent’s own mobility. Instead, the custody order will be altered so that the kid stays within state boundaries with whoever isn’t planning on relocating.
Can I stop my ex moving away with my child?
One parent has the right to stop the other from relocating and may file a court petition against it. The proceedings will prevent their child’s move until there is an official judgment by the court on this matter.
Can a mother take a child out of the country without the father’s permission?
If the child is in your care and no court orders are barring you from taking them abroad, then traveling with your little one can be done either with or without consent from the parent.
At what age can children decide which parent they live with?
The weighty responsibility of deciding who a child should live with typically lies on the shoulders of their parents, since minors cannot make this decision until they reach sixteen.
When there is an attempt of custodial parent moving out of state with their children, they must consider the long-term impact of that decision on their children, particularly in terms of their relationship with the other parent. The court may intervene and review the reasons for relocation and may modify custody orders based on the evidence presented. Ultimately, it is important to remember to always put the child’s best interests first.
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