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Relocation and Child Custody

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Can I Move My Child out of State If My Former Spouse Has Visitation Rights?

You may be able to move out of state with your child. However, this will depend upon the child custody laws of your state and the particular details of your situation. Since there are numerous types of child custody orders, the matter typically goes before a court.

In determining the outcome, a court will focus on determining the best interest of the child. The court may also place the burden on either the custodial or non-custodial parent to prove what would be in the child's best interest.

Most states will allow the custodial parent to move with the child as long as the move is in the child's overall best interest. Beneficial interests may include:

  • Educational opportunities
  • More disposable income (through a better job for the parent)
  • Emotional benefits such as living closer to other family members
  • A new marriage

What Does a Court Consider to Determine the Child's Best Interest?

No matter who has the burden of proof, the courts typically attempt to balance these three factors:

  • The right of the custodial parent to move freely
  • The best interest of the child in the specific circumstances
  • The right of the non-custodial parent to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child.

The court also considers whether:

  • The move would likely improve the general quality of life for both the relocating parent and the child
  • The move or the opposition to the move is not motivated by malice or bad faith
  • The relocating parent will comply with substitute visitation arrangements
  • The substitute visitation will be adequate to foster a continuing meaningful relationship between the child and the other parent as contemplated by the original parenting plan

Do I Need a Family Lawyer for My Child Custody Issue?

If you or your former spouse were considering relocating with your child, it would be wise to consult with a family lawyer. Working with an experienced family lawyer can help you understand your rights and help you understand the complicated child custody system in your state.

Photo of page author Jessica Tran

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-12-2018 01:16 AM PDT

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