What Happens to a Custody Agreement When You Move Out of State?


As hard as it was during the divorce, your life has settled down to the point where you’ve moved on, and you’re ready to move to greener pastures. But what happens if the pastures you’re moving to are in a different state from your ex? With joint custody agreements, you and your ex may need to go back to court to work out a new agreement if this issue was never touched on during the initial child custody proceedings.

What do I need to do?

Before you begin your relocation, it’s important to know what factors courts consider in “good faith.” Without a good faith reason to move, it becomes more unlikely the new settlement will end up in your favor. They include:

  • New job. This means you have a solid job offer, not that you have a good lead in the area. Without something concrete, this reason doesn’t hold much weight.
  • Continuing your education. Similar to getting a new job, it’s better to have your acceptance letter in hand, otherwise the courts may just see this as wishful thinking.
  • Moving back home. Wanting to move closer to your parents and / or family members so they can help take care of your child is a reason upon which courts should look favorably.
  • Better cost of living. Moving somewhere to have more money to spend on you and your family is a financially sound decision, but having a job secured will help this reasoning even more.

The most important thing the courts look out for is what’s best for the children. If your move is based around “bad faith” reasons, like wanting to move as far away from your ex as possible, there’s a greater chance the courts will not allow it, or may change the custody agreement to favor the parent who isn’t leaving.

Courts also consider the use of visitation rights in the cases where one parent has sole custody, both to protect the noncustodial parent from having their children moved away from them, but also as a factor to grant moving rights when they were not regularly exercised.

Some states also require notice and consent, usually written, be given to your ex anywhere from 30 to 90 days ahead of your intended move. Your ex may need to give consent, or object by filing a motion to prevent the relocation.

The best way to handle this situation is to include a plan in the initial custody agreement. This often includes a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent, which often includes extended access during holidays and school breaks.

At Family Law Advocacy Group, we are confident in our ability to provide the legal guidance to get you through trying times. If you are in need of a family lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, you don’t need to look any further than here.

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