How to Relocate After a Divorce
After a divorce involving children, relocating may be a tricky situation. With the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney, you’ll soon find yourself on the road to your new home. Just make sure you understand the process involved with moving with minors.
Your Custody Arrangement
When a new job or change in family situation entices you to move out of state, the first step you should take is looking over your divorce decree. Within your judge-approved custody arrangement, there is often a clause stating that parents may not relocate out of state without first gaining the approval of the court. If this is the case with your custody order, it is now time to contact your attorney and inform him or her of your intention to move out of state.
If your custody arrangement specifically states that you can move without notifying the court (perhaps you knew of the move ahead of time before the divorce decree was finalized), then you have the green light to start the moving process. However, it’s more typical for people to find out after a divorce that a move is pending.
The next step will be notifying the court of your intent to relocate with minor children involved. While receiving the other parent’s approval is a positive step towards moving, it isn’t always necessary and you should not take permission from the other parent as permission from the court. For example, you might receive the go ahead from your ex and then after you move, they might report you to the courts for failure to follow the custody arrangement. You would then be in violation of the custody order. It is always in your best interest to ensure everything is in writing and court approved before proceeding.
Filing Your Notice of Intent to Relocate
When you file your notice of intent to relocate, you will send a copy not only to the courts, but also to the other parent. This notice is required to be mailed out at least 90 days in advance of the date you intend to move. You will include your new address as well as your phone number and indicate the reason why you are attempting to relocate your children. This might include a change in job with improved benefits or any other reasons behind your move. You will also include a proposed new custody schedule for the children in this petition. Finally, there will be statements to the effect that the other parent must file their objection with the court within 60 days of receiving this paperwork if they wish to stop the relocation. Another statement that will be included will declare that the other parent has the ability to file to modify the current custody schedule as well. If for any reason, you don’t feel it is safe sending the other parent all of this pertinent information — in particular your new home address and phone number — you may black out those details, but a copy is required to be mailed to the other parent before you attempt to move.
If the other parent disagrees with your moving with the children, they will need to file an objection. They will need to state the reasons why they believe relocating the children is not in their best interest. If your previous partner does not object to your move, you will be granted permission by the courts and you may then proceed.
The Court Hearing
If you are forced to attend a hearing in order to move, you will be expected to explain to the court why this relocation is in the best interest of the children. The court will take into consideration the distance of the move, the hardship involved due to that distance for the other parent, as well as the reason for the move. After taking everything into consideration, the court will either grant or deny your motion.
While moving with children after a divorce may seem like an imposing situation, it’s really a simple process that simply ensures your children’s best interests are considered. Relocating is a difficult process for everyone involved and by following the appropriate steps you will ensure your move proceeds as smoothly and painlessly as possible with the support of the court system.