Navigating custody issues when relocating with your child

Griffin Law, PLLC
May 02, 2023

It is understandable that if marriage does not work for you and your spouse, it will be easier to move on if you move to a different environment. However, it can be difficult if you plan to relocate with your child, especially if you are in a custody dispute.

Impact of relocation on custody determinations

If you want to relocate with your child, the North Carolina court must determine whether the relocation is in your child’s best interests. As it can potentially disrupt the child’s established routine and relationship with the other parent, they consider various factors when deciding custody in relocation cases.

Here are some of the factors that the courts may consider:

  • Reason for the relocation: If you are moving to pursue a job opportunity or be closer to family, the court may view this as a positive factor, particularly if it will result in your child’s better quality of life. On the other hand, if you are moving to avoid a difficult situation, such as a custody dispute or financial problems, the court may view this negatively.
  • The impact on the child’s relationship with the other parent: If the move significantly reduces the other parent’s ability to spend time with your child, the court may be less likely to grant permission for your move. So, if you plan to move the child several states away, the court decision may not turn favorably for you.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent: The court may also consider your child’s preference. It may matter if your child has a close relationship with one parent. The court may hesitate to disrupt that relationship by allowing you to relocate with the child.

These three are just the most common considerations you should think about. But each custody case is unique, so there may still be other elements that can impact your child’s well-being.

What can you do?

If relocating with your child is the only option you can think of, it is important to take the right steps to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. One of the first things you should do is notify the other parent of the proposed relocation. You may want to provide details about the reason for the move and the proposed new location. Doing so can help avoid surprises and reduce the potential for conflict.

If you cannot reach an agreement with each other, the next step is to file a motion with the court. The court will consider the factors discussed above when deciding. So, you must present a compelling case for why the move is in your child’s best interests.

Relocating with a child is a complex issue with significant implications for custody and visitation. Whether seeking agreement with the other parent or filing a motion with the court, you must approach the relocation process carefully and always with the child’s best interests in mind.

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