Could my ex-husband legally stop me from moving with our children to another state?
We have joint custody and he pays child support (when he wants to) but I wish to relocate to another state with my parents. Also do I have to ask his permission first?
Yes, you have to get consent to move the children. Read your divorceagreement with regard to your kids. Does it state that you can only move within a certain distance of their father? Sometimes it gives an amount in "miles" or "hours". This is so the non-custodial parent can have easy access to his or her children.
If you wish to move you have two options: your ex can consent (and would get it in writing prepared by an attorney) or you can ask the court to modify your divorce agreement and order it. Judge's are not easy to take kids from their parents so you must have compelling reasons to do so (job, etc). Seek legal help with what the courts in your area will think is a good reason before you do anything.
Unless your custody agreement directly addresses this issue, the parent seeking to move out-of-state with the minor child must request court permission. A move without such permission could mean that you are in contempt of a court and be charged with parental kidnapping. Additionally, the burden is on the party seeking to move and the court will look at the best interests of the child in making such a determination. Each petition will be reviewed by the court on a case-by-case analysis. There are numerous factors the court must consider in determining whether removal is appropriate.
The factors in determining if such a move will be allowed include, but are not limited to:
- The motivations of the parent desiring the relocation.
- The motivation of the parent opposing the move.
- The advantages of relocation in terms of its capacity to improve the life of the minor child.
- Any disadvantages of relocation on the minor child.
- The likelihood that a reasonable visitation schedule can be arranged which will preserve and foster the parental relationship with the noncustodial parent.
- A chance to bond with extended family members.
- The likelihood that the parent desiring the move will comply with visitation orders after they have relocated to another state.
Remember, there is a court order in place, until it is modified it must be followed. Going about this move in a legal and proper way is the best protection for you and your child in the long run.
The weight given to each unique factor is different in each case. Again, the burden is on the party seeking to remove the child out-of-state; they must demonstrate that the removal is in the best interest of the child.
A parent who wishes to relocate because of a job, new spouse, or to care for sick relatives will have a stronger case than a parent who simply wants to move away from the non-custodial parent.