Usually, a custodial parent is not allowed to move the children out of state without the approval of the noncustodial parent. When a custodial parent moves the children without the consent of the noncustodial parent, the noncustodial parent is often left bewildered and unsure of the available options. This article will attempt to explain the options available when one parent moves a child out of state without proper authorization from the court.
Directions concerning moving one child away from another parent are often included in parenting plans. Parenting plans are legally binding documents that come in one of two types. One type of parenting plan designates a custodial parent and a noncustodial parent. These parenting plans often detail visiting rights and times. A second type of parenting plan exists between parents who share parental rights. These types of parental plans allow parents mutually to make decision regarding the future of the child. Neither type of parenting plans permits a parent to move a child out of state without the other parent’s consent.
When either a noncustodial or a custodial parent decides to move a child out of state, many states require that the parent obtain a court order before moving the child out of state. Court orders help protect the rights of both parents and ensure the safety of children.
A divorce agreement is usually violated when a custodial parent moves a child out of state. The noncustodial parent, however, is left with several options: (1) contact the police to see if they will retrieve the children, and (2) if contacting the police is unsuccessful, going through the court system and filing a motion to compel the return of the children. This motion can be filed in the courthouse that issued your original custody order and likely will result in a trial.
At trial, the court will weigh the benefits and the disruption to the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. The factors a consider will greatly depend on the state in which the action is filed. The court will consider various factors that might improve the life of the child including increased income for the custodial parent, closer proximity to the custodial parent’s family, educational opportunities, and a new marriage. The greatest disadvantage of moving a child out of state is the lack of stability in the child’s life.
Before moving out of state or away from a parent, much thought should be given to the potential disruption of the child’s life. Children will endure long travel, awkward transitions, and moving away from friends and familiar environments. Relocation of minors should not be taken lightly and the decisions should only be made after great reflection. Not to mention, relocation cases can often be lengthy.
When parents of minor children divorce, custody becomes a major issue. A move-away trial is one of the most difficult aspects of custodial law. While going through this process, it is critical to have the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. Jane Wesley Brooks, CFLS, at JWB Family Law can provide this assistance. For a consultation, please call all us today (619) 234-6123.