Relocating? Make Sure Your Existing Custody Agreement Sticks

For most people, moving is an inevitability. Work opportunities, family obligations, or simple whims will push many people to move. In many cases, it’s just a matter of packing up and leaving, but when you have an existing custody agreement, things may get a little complicated if you leave the jurisdiction.

Before you sign any documents, it’s important to understand if it works with your existing agreements. When one parent must relocate, it can significantly impact the existing arrangements, necessitating adjustments to serve the child’s best interests.

Moves That Disrupt Custody Orders

When a parent plans to move with a child, whether to another state or simply a different county, it’s not just about packing boxes; it’s about considering the legal implications for custody and visitation orders. If the move doesn’t interfere with the current custody and visitation arrangements and the other parent is notified, adjustments may be straightforward. However, if the relocation disrupts the agreed-upon custody and visitation, obtaining a court order becomes necessary. This process, known as a relocation or move-away case, requires careful navigation to ensure the child’s welfare remains a priority.

A judge’s decision to allow a child to relocate with a parent hinges on several factors. For parents with sole physical custody, moving may be more feasible, but the nature of the custody order—whether it is permanent—plays a significant role. Permanent orders, typically established as part of the final judgment in a custody case, guide the judge’s considerations. If there’s a permanent custody order, a parent with sole physical custody may be permitted to move unless the other parent can demonstrate potential harm to the child. Conversely, parents with joint physical custody face more scrutiny and must prove that the relocation is in the child’s best interest.

Reworking an Existing Plan

But what if there isn’t a permanent custody order? The judge then looks at a broader spectrum of factors, including the move’s distance, which could affect the child’s ability to maintain a relationship with both parents. The existing custody arrangement, the child’s age, and the parents’ relationship also weigh heavily in these decisions. For older, more mature children, their preferences might be considered, often through discussions with a counselor.

If you or the other parent wishes to move with your child, it’s essential to follow the requirements set by your existing custody orders. Protecting your rights and ensuring the move aligns with your child’s best interests may involve legal intervention. Whether you’re the one moving or the other parent intends to relocate with your child, understanding these legal nuances is vital.

Plan Custody Before Planning Your Move

Figuring out how to adjust custody agreements accordingly can feel overwhelming. If you’re facing the prospect of relocation or dealing with a co-parent’s move, it’s crucial to navigate these changes thoughtfully, always keeping your child’s happiness and well-being at the forefront.

At KL Family Law, we understand the challenges and emotions involved in these situations. Our team is dedicated to providing you with compassionate, knowledgeable support to make this transition as smooth as possible for you and your family. We’re here to help you understand your options and ensure your custody arrangements continue to serve the best interests of your child. Reach out by calling 714-372-2217 today to chat about how we can assist you through this significant change with ease and confidence.

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KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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