Can I Move Out of State with My Child Without My Ex’s Consent?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

May 1, 2018

There are many reasons to consider moving out of state: a new job, a change of scenery, or a chance to be closer to friends or relatives. When you have a child custody agreement in place, however, you may not have the freedom to move whenever you wish. If this is your situation, you’re likely asking yourself, “can I move out of state with my child without my ex’s consent,” the answer to that question can be answered by seeking advice from a child custody lawyer who has experience with child relocation cases.

Attorney Jonathan Breeden has been helping parents figure out their child custody situations for several years. If you are looking for help with your custody agreement, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a case consultation today.

You are Beholden to Your Custody Agreement

If you are wondering, “am I allowed to move out of state with my child,” consider what your custody agreement states. These agreements often address this question, as parents may consider moving to another city, county, or further location for a variety of reasons. If you and your child’s other parent dictated moving terms within the custody agreement, you will not need to seek an answer from the court or the other parent.

However, it is important to note that relocation addressed in the custody agreement is likely to have limitations. For example, the agreement may give you approval to move several counties over, but it may expressly deny moving out of state with your child. Remember, the arrangement was drafted according to the best interests of the child. If moving out of state will decrease the time the child has with their other parent, the courts may not allow it.

Getting Approval for Relocation

You may have decided not to address relocation in your custody agreement, but that doesn’t mean you are free to do whatever you wish. In this instance, you should seek approval from your child’s other parent before relocating anywhere. Be aware that you will likely be in for a fight. Moving just a few hours away can increase tension in your relationship, so an out-of-state move could make things even worse.

If you and your child’s other parent are having difficulties coming to terms with a move, you may want to turn to a child custody lawyer for help. An attorney can assist you with getting permission from the court in addition to drafting a new custody agreement that will work for everyone. As long as the child’s best interests will be served by the move, the court is more inclined to agree.

You May be Able to Move, But Should You?

If you and your child’s other parent do not have a parenting plan or document of any kind that establishes custody and visitation, then it may seem as if you can move out of state without a problem but if you do that in North Carolina your move could be grounds for an emergency custody order to be issued against you if the Court believes you have taken the child from the state to avoid the jurisdiction of the Court or the move means that you cannot keep the status quo custody schedule the two of you have been following for a period of time. There is often a big difference between what you can do and what you should do.

To maintain civility between you and your child’s other parent, you should still seek their permission to move. Not doing so will likely result in trouble. Your co-parent will probably turn to the court and have a parenting plan drafted that stops you from moving with your child, which could decrease the amount of time you see them. The court may not see the move as a good idea for the child, therefore deciding to award primary custody to the parent who is remaining in-state. If this is the issue you’re facing, you may want to talk to your lawyer about implementing a custody agreement that is approved by both parents.

Thinking About Moving Out of State With Your Child? Contact a Custody Lawyer for Help

Moving out of state when you share custody of a child can be a stressful situation. Before you make any final decisions, talk to a lawyer at Breeden Law Office. Attorney Jonathan Breeden will go over your current custody agreement, or help you draft a document that benefits both parents. Contact us today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.


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