You and your ex are making your child custody arrangement work. It might not be ideal, and there is the occasional challenge, but for the most part, it’s working for everyone and your children are settled into the new rhythm. Then, your ex calls to say they’re moving out of the state. They still want to be involved in your children’s lives and want to make it work. What does this mean for you, your children, and your child custody arrangement?
Can the Non-Custodial Parent Move Out of State?
Non-custodial parents are more easily able to move out of state than custodial parents. When a custodial parent moves out of the state, they typically need to file a Petition for Relocation to petition to the court for permission to do so. This is to ensure that the move is in the best interest of the children, and to mitigate issues which can, unfortunately, arise with parents “kidnapping” their children by suddenly moving them out of the state and away from their former spouses.
Does the Non-Custodial Parent Need to File Anything to Move Out of State?
While non-custodial parents do not need to file a Petition for Relocation with the court prior to a move, they should file a motion to modify your time-sharing schedule with the court. This motion is filed to modify the existing child custody agreement to accommodate the changes which have occurred or will occur in the non-custodial parent’s geographic location.
Are We Headed Back to Court to Litigate Child Custody?
While a court will need to approve a modification to your existing child custody agreement, the bulk of the modification work can be done through mediation. Mediation will involve a neutral professional guiding you and your former spouse through the modification process. They will encourage you and your former spouse to share your thoughts and concerns about the move and what is in the best interests of your children. If you and your spouse can work together to reach a solution that is in the best interests of your children, that will mitigate the amount of time you spend fighting over this unexpected change in court.
What Are Some Immediate Steps I Should Take?
The first step you should take is to contact an experienced family law attorney. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine your options and can talk you through what you need to consider when modifying a child custody agreement. Next, you will want to ask your spouse what their custody expectations are and what they think is in the best interest of your children. If you and your spouse are both in agreement about what that looks like, you may not need to take the matter to mediation. If you disagree, you should ask your spouse to participate in mediating changes to your custody agreement.
What Should I Do If This Happens to Me and My Family?
If a non-custodial ex’s plan to move out of state will impact your child custody agreement, contact the experienced attorneys at Blair H. Chan III, PLLC. They are ready to help you tackle this change in plans in a way that works best for you and your children.