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Move Away – Can I relocate if I share custody?


Move Away – Can I relocate if I share custody?

We are up to the Letter M in our Divorce from A to Z series. This week’s topic of discussion is Move Away Orders. Move Away Orders are custody orders issued by the court in the event that one of the parents decides to move far enough away that schedule would need to be changed.

Move away orders are not made unless one of the parents actually plans to move. Before moving the kids, you need to notify the other side of the intent to move. If you have sole physical custody of the children, then the other side will have to prove to the court that the children should not move with you.

However, if you have joint physical custody, which is often the case, the court will look at the best interest of the children and based upon the children’s best interest, the court will decide whether the children should move with you or stay with their other parent.

Move away orders are often written so that if you don’t move, then the custody schedule doesn’t change; however, if you do move then the custody schedule will change to whatever the new schedule would be.

When considering a move away order, a number of factors are taken into account including the reason for the move, the children’s attachment to the current residence, and the other parents ability to take custody of the children a majority of the time.

Move away orders like all custody matters are very fact specific making it difficult to predict the outcome. Some factors that may weigh for or against your request to move away include:

A new job when you can’t find one in your current location is an example of a good reason for a move.

Marrying someone who lives far away is not.

If your children spend 50% of their time with the other parent and the other parent is willing to take on the extra time when you leave, then there is a good chance the court will deny your request to move the child. Of course you can still move but if you do, the time share will change.

The older a child is, the less likely it is that the court will order the move away unless the child wishes to go with you. With younger children (pre-school age), it can be easier to work the schedule in a way that allows you two to live farther apart.

Move away cases are difficult and should not be attempted alone. There are several places during the process where legal counsel is vital, including drafting the request, mediation coaching, and court coaching. We are here to help.

LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT. This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. You should consult qualified legal counsel with questions regarding your situation.