Married parents or single parents with sole custody can move whenever they want. For those who share custody, such as after a divorce, there is a further requirement. They may need to ask the court for permission to move.
The reasoning is that moving your child to another location — especially if it’s another state or another country — can make it impossible for the other parent to see them. If you have shared custody, the court specifically ruled that both parents should stay involved. Moving makes that impractical or impossible. Just allowing parents to move whenever they want could cut the other parent entirely out of the child’s life.
That said, moving is not impossible. The court will sometimes grant permission if you have a good reason to do so. Examples of these reasons may include:
- Taking a new job or getting a promotion. You typically need a job offer before moving, though.
- Finding a lower cost of living. Your current area may be too expensive on one income.
- Going to college or a trade school. This may include going to college for the first time or returning or a more advanced degree. Moving may be necessary depending on where you get accepted into the program.
- Moving to get assistance with child care from family members. It is not always affordable for everyone to pay for child care, and grandparents often want to be involved in that process if possible.
As you can see, it is important not just to understand your own child custody rights, but to know how the other parent’s rights may impact your life.