How Parent Relocation Affects Child Custody Orders

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How will My Relocation Affect the current Child Custody Order?

Depending on the states involved, you may be required to file a petition with the court for a modification of the original child custody order. Doing so will allow the court to recognize changes that may result from your move, such as a different job and changes in the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. These changes will be reflected in an updated child custody order.
 
Generally speaking, when updating a child custody order, the courts will follow the legal principle known as the child’s best interest standard. That is, they will make all modifications based on what will benefit the child rather than the individual parents. As part of their best interest determination, a court will usually consider the following:
 

Do any States have unique Child Custody Laws?

Child custody laws vary from state to state. The main inquiry that courts usually make is determining whether the move constitutes a “sufficient change of circumstances” which requires an updated custody order. Some states do not consider an out of state move to be a sufficient change of circumstances requiring an update, while some do consider it to be. 
 
Several states also contain unique provisions that you should be aware of when changing residence locations. For example, the following states have these requirements:
 
Additionally, courts will consider the prior history of the child’s relation to the parents in determining how serious the change of circumstances is. For example, if the non-custodial parent has previously been traveling to different states to visit the child, the court will take note of this as well.

Should I hire an Attorney to review the Child Custody Order if I plan to relocate to a Different State?

As you can probably tell, moving out of your current state of residence can have great consequence for all parties involved, especially the child. You should contact an attorney who can explain to you the various differences in child custody laws according to the relevant states involved. You may wish to obtain a lawyer early on so that the situation does not become complicated during the relocation process. 

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Last Modified: 05-20-2013 02:09 PM PDT

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