Many parents have questions about whether they can move out of North Carolina with their children when they are divorced. This is a complicated issue that requires considering a lot of factors when making a decision to move. Here are some things to keep in mind when determining whether or not you can move out of state with your children:
It is always a good idea to have a written agreement in place when you are co-parenting after a divorce. Some agreements or court orders have restrictions on how far one can move, whether it is by state lines or by a certain number of miles. These things are usually arranged in the separation agreement or custody order beforehand.
If you do have a custody order and the order prevents you from relocating out of North Carolina, you would be are breaking the law. However, if there is not a limitation on moving or you do not have a custody order in effect, it is technically not illegal to move kids out of state, but it is still a substantial risk.
Moving out of North Carolina without permission of the other parent or modification of the Custody Order can result in a variety of consequences. These can range from a sheriff showing with a Court Order to take the child back to North Carolina, or the court holding you in contempt. It is never a a good look in the judge’s eyes if you take the child without permission of the other parent and could result in the judge having a bias against you in custody issues in the future.
Joint or Sole Custody
Regardless of any kind of custody arrangement, you should go to court and file a Motion to Modify Custody before making your move. If one parent gets the kids on the weekend but the kids are now five hours away instead of across town, this will not only affect the logistics of complying with the Order but will likely make the other parent angry, destroying any chance of co-parenting. It is always best practice to notify the other parent and request a Custody Modification before moving across state lines.
Whether Relocation Will Be Allowed
The ultimate consideration in Custody issues, including moving or relocation, is the best interest of the child. Courts will look to the factors used by the court in Ramirez v. Barker (418 S.E.2d 675, 107 N.C. App. 71 in determining whether it is in the best interest of the child to be relocated. These include:
- The advantages of the relocation in terms of its capacity to improve the life of the child;
- The motives of the custodial parent in seeking the move;
- The likelihood that the custodial parent will comply with the visitation orders when no longer subject to the jurisdiction of NC courts;
- The integrity of the noncustodial parent in resisting the relocation; and
- The likelihood that a realistic visitation schedule can be arranged which will preserve and foster the parental relationship with the noncustodial parent.
Courts might look at other factors in considering a Custody Modification, but these are the important factors in determining whether a child’s relocation should be approved.
How to Deal with a Relocation Dispute
Whether you are the parent requesting the relocation or the parent opposing the relocation, it is important to contact an experienced attorney in these matters. Even if you both agree to the relocation, determining specifics can be stressful. Emblem Legal can provide valuable guidance on navigating these issues with the other parent.
If you have questions about one parent taking your children out of North Carolina, or about anything else related to Child Custody, be sure to contact Emblem Legal to schedule an appointment.