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Can I object to my co-parent’s relocation?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2023 | Modifications |

Certain lifestyle changes prompt parents to request the modification of their existing child custody order. A common situation family courts encounter in these cases is a parent’s relocation. Typically, if it is the noncustodial parent who is moving, there are few to no issues. However, if it is the custodial parent who is relocating, a dispute may arise since they will be bringing the child along with them.

Issues that may arise due to the relocation

The top concern of noncustodial parents regarding a co-parent’s relocation is that it will likely make visitation difficult, if not impossible. Accordingly, reduced time between a parent and a child can negatively affect their relationship.

The only times a parent’s relocation is permissible

Courts do not prohibit parents from moving residences and bringing their children along with them. However, they must still abide by the state’s child relocation laws. Specifically, a parent can only relocate if:

  • They obtained the permission of the other parent to move with the child.
  • They acquired a court order allowing the relocation.

In both instances, the moving parent must submit a written notice to the court and the other parent about the intention to move at least 90 days before the relocation. However, the relocating parent can bypass the notice requirement if the circumstances justify the urgency. This includes exposure to abuse, critical financial reasons and other extenuating situations.

The nonmoving parent has the option to object

The child relocation laws require prior notice so that the nonmoving parent can decide whether they agree or object to the move. If they do not agree to the relocation, the nonmoving parent must file a petition with the court objecting to the move.

Nevertheless, both the proposal to relocate and the objection are subject to the court’s review of the evidence and relevant circumstances. Mainly, the court will determine whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests.

Protect your visitation rights as a noncustodial parent

Parents who do not hold custody already have limited time and interaction with their children. A custodial parent’s relocation would likely lessen or totally eliminate the other parent’s visitation with their child. Establishing a solid argument against the move can help a parent protect their visitation rights.