If you are divorced, you may want to know if it’s okay for you to move away with your children. If you move, will you get in trouble with the court? Will your former spouse get upset and seek full custody if you move to another county or state?
For starters, we want you to know that it’s not unusual for parents to want to move out of the county or out of the state after a divorce. Often, they want to relocate to 1) move back home, 2) move closer to family, 3) for a new job, 4) to remarry, or 5) to get a change of scenery and get their mind off the divorce. So, can you move away with your children? Will there be repercussions if you do?
Sole vs. Joint Physical Custody
If you are the custodial parent and you have sole physical custody of your children, you can probably move wherever you want. And you shouldn’t have to ask the other parent for their permission. However, if you have joint physical custody, and the other parent has a problem with you leaving, you will need to get the court’s permission before you up and relocate to a far off place.
Regardless of what it says in your Parenting Plan if there is a dispute, the judge is not only going to look at what the custody arrangement is in the Plan, but the judge will want to know what your actual custody arrangement is.
For example, the Plan may say that the kids will live with your former spouse most of the time, but they’re actually living with you full-time. In other words, what’s on paper may not reflect what’s really happening.
Assuming you have a Parenting Plan, our advice is to read it very carefully. If you do not have sole physical custody (also known as primary physical custody), read through it to see if there is any language that mentions “geographic restrictions.”
For example, some Parenting Plans say that a parent cannot take the kids out of the county without the other parent’s express permission. Beware: in some cases, a custodial parent has moved the children far away, and the noncustodial parent lashed back by taking their ex to court and seeking primary physical custody, and sometimes they won.
If you’re planning on moving away with your children and you suspect that their other parent will fight you on the move, our advice is to speak to a family law attorney first. For the help you need, contact Arnold Law Group, APC today.