How Will Moving Affect My Child Custody Agreement?
Many people interested in moving look for better job opportunities, lower costs of living, or simply desire to be closer to family in other states. However, individuals who are divorced or separated and have children may experience complications when deciding to move. The reason for this is because there is most likely a child custody agreement in place. Therefore, they may need to take extra steps before they can move.
You will need to provide a notice stating that you plan to move
If you are a custodial parent living in Columbus, Ohio and are planning to move out of state, you will need to file a Notice of Intent to Relocate. It does not matter if you are planning to move to a close state, such as Kentucky, Pennsylvania, or Indiana, you still need to file this form in the same county and court that you had your custody hearing. On the form, you will explain the details of your move such as the location, traveling costs, and the reason you are planning to relocate.
This is typically considered to be a formal way to ask the court for permission to move. However, if the other parent disagrees with your move, you will also go through a court hearing. In this hearing, the court will determine whether the move is in the best interest of the child. You will need to offer a new and fair schedule for visits that the other parent, as well as the judge, may take into consideration.
Do I have to go to court if I need to move?
A lot of times, co-parents agree to the relocation and sign the forms for a modified custody order. When this happens, the custody order is approved and entered into the court’s information. However, if both parents cannot come to an agreement on the changes, a court hearing is scheduled to allow both parties to explain why they do not agree. This type of court hearing is very similar to child custody hearings, except the judge will listen to how the move affects the child and determine what is in the child’s best interest. Some of the factors the judge will be looking at to determine this include:
- Visitations with their other parent and family members
- Their close connections to the area, such as friends, extracurricular activities, and school
- How the child feels about the move and being away from their other parent (depending on their age)
What can I do if my co-parent objects to my move?
It is not uncommon for a co-parent to disagree with the other co-parent’s move, especially if they do not think it will be good for the child. If you are the parent wanting to relocate, you will need to provide a well-thought-out argument, explaining why this move is important and its benefits. It may be a struggle to accurately describe and justify why you want to move with your child. Therefore, you will need to think long and hard about how to do this. The judge will take the time to listen to your plan, and if it is in the best interest of the child, it will most likely not be denied. However, there are a few factors that you may want to include when justifying your reasons, such as:
- Does the move offer more financial stability and a better job opportunity?
- Are there better schools in the area you are planning to relocate to?
- Is someone sick or in need of more care from you? (a parent, sibling, etc.)
- Do you have family members in the area that can help you with childcare?
- Are there better opportunities for your child in the area? (Extracurricular activities, sports, healthcare, etc.)
- How far are you planning to move?
When an Ohio parent receives your Notice of Intent to Relocate document, they can either agree or object. Here are some of the most common reasons co-parents object:
- They believe the move is to keep the child away from them or to limit visitations.
- The child does not want to move and does not like the idea of moving.
- The move is too far and will keep them from being able to see their child.
Can a Columbus family law attorney help with my relocation case?
While a judge will make the ultimate decision on whether you can move with your child or not, having a Columbus family law attorney from Soroka & Associates may increase your chances of being approved. The reason for this is because we are aware of the laws surrounding relocation and child custody as well as how the courts think and operate. Therefore, when you hire our Columbus family law attorneys, you can rest assured knowing that we will carefully evaluate your plan and prepare to explain to the judge why this potential relocation is important to you and your child.
We encourage you to get in touch with our office as soon as you know that you (or your ex) is planning a move. The sooner we can start developing a convincing argument, the better your chances will be.
If you and your co-parent are disagreeing on a relocation opportunity, an experienced and skilled Columbus family law attorney from Soroka & Associates is here to help. We are compassionate and understanding when it comes to relocation issues and will do everything that we can to protect your rights. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team today. We serve clients throughout Central Ohio who have family law problems needing resolution.