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Changing Residences and Child Custody 

Child custody arrangements and visitation schedules can be complex and contentious even when a divorced couple lives close to one another. However, if one of the parents decides to move somewhere out of state, additional complications can arise. Relocating can cause disputes related to parenting time, school choice, and travel expenses.

Below, we’ll discuss the intricacies of relocating with minor children and how it might affect your child custody order. If you are considering moving, or you plan to object to a former spouse’s relocation, contact Virginia Beach family law attorney Mike Deering today to get the legal assistance you need. 

Relocation and the “Best Interests Of The Child”

A custodial parent (the parent with primary custody of their child) is required to give the other parent and the court that finalized the divorce agreement a 30-day warning if they are planning on relocating with the child. The court must review the relocation request if the other parent objects to it.

When deciding whether to approve the move, the court will consider the best interests of the child. If you plan to move with your child, you must present evidence to the court that doing so will not go against your child’s best interests. You must also have a valid reason for relocating, such as starting a new job. However, if the Court considers a benefit that you may receive from relocating, the Court must also find an independent benefit to the child.

Some of the factors that the court will consider when determining whether the relocation is in your child’s best interests include:

  • The nature of the relationship between the child and each parent
  • The child’s age
  • The age of both parents
  • The physical and mental state of both parents and the child
  • The child’s personal needs and pre-existing relationships with other family members and friends
  • Both parents’ willingness to cooperate with the established visitation schedule and foster a close relationship with the child
  • Each parent’s current and future role in raising the child
  • Any domestic violence or sexual abuse that has occurred under the care of either parent
  • The willingness of both parents to ensure that the child can maintain a functioning relationship with the other parent
  • The child’s choice, if the judge deems the child mature enough to state their preference

Can My Child’s Other Parent Stop My Move?

A non-custodial parent can prevent the custodial parent from relocating in some cases. If you want to relocate with your child and the non-custodial parent objects to the move, they can file a motion with the court to modify the existing custody arrangement.

However, for this motion to succeed and the custody order to be modified, the non-custodial parent will need to prove that circumstances have changed and that altering the current custody arrangement is in your child’s best interests. Modifying custody orders and altering visitation schedules can be complex, so it’s beneficial to retain a knowledgeable family law attorney.

Contact a Virginia Beach Child Custody Lawyer

 Whether you are attempting to relocate or are hoping to prevent your child’s other parent from moving, Mike Deering has the experience and skills to help you and your former spouse draft a long-distance parenting plan and create a new visitation schedule that works for everyone or litigate the issue in Court if an agreement cannot be reached.

Contact us today for a free case review with an experienced child custody lawyer in Virginia Beach.

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