From pursuing a promising job opportunity to moving closer to extended family, there are many reasons you may want to relocate with your children.
However, whether you have sole or joint physical custody with your former spouse, if you want to move out of state, you need to have either his/her permission or the court’s approval before doing so.
Does your former spouse agree?
If your former spouse agrees to the move, you do not have to petition the court. However, you should make sure to draft and notarize a written agreement documenting his or her permission to relocate and file the original agreement with the court before your move.
Does your former spouse object?
If your ex objects to the relocation, you may petition the court for approval. A judge may allow the move if you can demonstrate that:
- The move will benefit your child economically, socially and emotionally
- The move offers a significant advantage for you and your child
- You are not moving away from the other parent out of spite
Common reasons for relocation the court may consider valid include: a significantly better job offer, a unique or superior educational opportunity for your child, or the presence of a supportive community of family and friends in the other state.
Does your custody order require modification?
If you do receive permission to relocate, you will likely need to modify your current parenting plan significantly. That may be a challenge if the move is long-distance. A family law mediator may be able to help you and your former spouse find creative ways to help ensure your children maintain a close, supportive relationship with both parents, despite physical distance.