Individuals choose to move outside their current state of residence for any number of reasons. Great employment opportunities, the ability to be closer to loved ones, excellent educational facilities, and more affordable standards of living all provide incentives for out-of-state moves. Simply because an opportunity presents itself, though, does not mean that moving is a decision that should be made impulsively. In addition to the practical and economic challenges associated with moving, there may be legal challenges associated with this transition as well. It is for this reason that if you share custody of your minor child or children with another person, you should consult an attorney before committing to an out-of-state move.
Custody Issues: Moving Out of State
If you do not first obtain the permission of your co-parent and the court to move out-of-state with your minor children, you may be criminally charged with parental abduction. If you defy court orders to remain in the state, you may be charged with contempt or other offenses. Additional criminal and civil penalties may result from your decision, including a modified custody arrangement in which you have less access to your child. It is incredibly important to secure permission before moving out of state if you do not have sole custody of your child.
Most of the time, you will need to work with your attorney in order to secure a formal custody modification before you make an out-of-state move. It is not generally enough to simply receive oral or written permission from your co-parent, as these permissions may not be legally enforceable. The last thing you want is to have made a move successfully, only to have your co-parent challenge this transition in court while claiming that his or her permission was conditional, invalid, uninformed, etc. Securing proper and complete legal permissions to move will help protect you from significant legal challenges down the road.
It is worth mentioning that custody modifications are subject to the “best interests of the child” standard. As a result, if your co-parent is contesting your decision to move, you will need to be able to explain to the court why moving is not just in your best interests, but in your child’s best interests as well. A child custody lawyer, can help you prepare for this formal process.
Child Custody Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about moving out of state or child custody issues, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced family law attorney. Speaking with an attorney does not commit you to taking any kind of legal action whatsoever. Consultations allow individuals to ask questions and seek legal guidance. In the event that you decide to take additional legal steps and find yourself in need of support, an attorney can provide necessary services. Child custody is a sensitive subject and is not one to be treated lightly. If you have questions, please ask before you act in order to prevent negative consequences from affecting you and your family.