If parents live in separate states, the questions of child custody and visitation rights fall under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Generally speaking, the following rules determine which state will decide a child custody case:

  • The state (home state) where the child has lived with a parent for at least six months
  • The child has connections with people in the state
  • The child is in the state for safety reasons
  • No state can meet any of the above

Traveling to Another State

Typically, when both parents live in the same state, one parent may want to temporarily leave the state with their child in order to travel to another state. Some court orders address out-of-state travel, and may allow or not allow a parent from traveling with their child. If allowed, it is always a good idea to inform the other parent of travel plans, as the move must satisfy the custody agreement. Often the schedule, modes of transportation, time gone, etc. will be required and may need to be submitted to the judge presiding over the custody case.

If you have a difficult custody case, where the parents are not on good terms, it is very likely that the judge will need time to review your request to travel to another state with the child. Even if it is for a vacation and the travel is temporary, it is always a concern that the parent may not return with the child.

If travel is not allowed in your current child custody order, then you must speak with an attorney to see if you can amend the existing order.

Can a Custodial Parent Move to Another State Permanently?

This is a complex question that the court takes very seriously. Generally, children cannot be taken from their home state without the court’s consent. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act was created to prevent a parent from changing a custody agreement by moving across state lines.

If a parent is moving to another state, they must inform the judge presiding over the custody issue and the other spouse. If the moving spouse has physical custody of the child and moves without notifying or having permission from the court/other parent, then the moving spouse can be liable to criminal charges and can lose physical custody of the child.

Moving to another state can create chaos in a custody situation, as well as create turmoil in a child’s life. Many factors come into play when a move-away dispute comes to court, therefore, consulting a lawyer is highly recommended.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Issues with Child Custody?

Child custody cases tend to be very complex, and can often be quite emotional. Speaking with a qualified lawyer can help you navigate your way through the court system. The right child custody lawyer can help ensure your custody arrangement is in the best interest of your children.