Small child with head in hands sitting between two adults

Relocating with Children After a Divorce

Caleb Bland Law, PLLC March 7, 2022

If you grew up watching your parents go through a divorce, or if you’re in the midst of your own right now, it’s clear that this transition can be especially tough on kids. The negative effects of divorce on children can be dramatic, especially for older children. A 2019 study found that children aged 7 to 14 show a 16% increased risk of behavioral problems. However, it’s equally true that when divorced parents remain supportive and positive with each other despite their differences, these effects can be mitigated.

One question many parents have is whether or not they can relocate with their children after a divorce. At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we’re here to help you with any aspect of your divorce, including your questions about child custody and relocation. From our office in Elizabethtown, we’re able to serve clients throughout the area including Radcliff, Shepherdsville, Bardstown, Brandenburg, Leitchfield, Hodgenville, Louisville, and the rest of Kentucky. Call us today to set up a consultation.

Relocating with Your Child

When you’re considering relocation after the divorce has been finalized, there are certain state laws that will affect your rights to child custody and visitation. In general, if both parents agree to the move, you’re free to do as you like—but if one parent objects, you may have to take your case to court. This happens regardless of who has residential custody at the time of the move because both parents are entitled to regular and meaningful contact with their child. The parent who wants to move is required to give notification to the other parent to give them enough time to discuss their options, work out a new plan, and object to the move. The only exception would be if the non-custodial parent has been convicted of a crime against the child, in which case there is no requirement for notification.

Generally speaking, if the parents share joint custody, they will both have to approve the move and both agree to a new visitation schedule (or maintain the current schedule if it works after the move). If one parent has sole custody and the other has visitation rights, the non-custodial parent can object to the move only if it interferes with the established parenting schedule. In all cases, the court will consider each parent’s circumstances and the best interests of the child in their final decision.

Notification Requirement

If you currently have a joint custody order in place and want to move out of state or more than 100 miles away, you must file a notification of intent to relocate with the court. The other parent then has 20 days from receiving the notification to file a motion to change the custody or visitation time agreement. Those with sole custody will also have to file a notification with the courts, but the non-custodial parent can only object if the move will affect their visitation time. The sooner you file the notification the better, though in most cases you only have to do it 30 days before the move. However, if the other parent has grounds to object, this may delay your intended moving date. It’s very important that you refrain from moving the children until the court has approved the move, or else you could face legal consequences for breaking the terms of your custody agreement.

Factors Considered in Determination

If a judge must get involved in a custody dispute involving relocating a child, the most important factor they’ll look at is whether the move is in the best interests of the child. If the child is old enough (typically 14 years old), a judge may consider their personal wishes, but this will never be the sole deciding factor in the case. The judge will also consider how well established the relationships are between each parent and the child, how cooperative the parents have been with one another to facilitate shared custody, how far away the child will be moving, the reason for the move, how easy or hard it will be for the other parent to maintain visitation, as well as any other safety concerns that may be at play.

Family Law Experience You Can Trust

Unfortunately, custody disagreements can get heated and complex, which is why many people decide to hire a family law attorney. When you work with Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, you’ll get personalized service and a partner to ensure that the best interests of you and your family are looked after. We’re here to help in whatever capacity you need, whether it’s just taking care of your court filings or taking the lead in negotiations with your ex-spouse to keep the conversation on track and focused on the needs of your child. If you’re in the Elizabethtown, Kentucky area, call our team today to start discussing your options.