There is possibly no more emotionally complicated experience in life than going through a divorce involving children. This can be made even more complicated where the custodial parent needs to relocate with the children following the divorce, resulting in the parents of the children being many miles apart. The need to relocate to another state often does arise – whether due to career, financial, or family support needs – and in many cases is precipitated by the divorce itself, such as a need to be closer to extended family or to find employment. But, while a single person or a family can generally move across states without any needed approval by the state, if there is a custody agreement in place, things aren’t so simple. If you are the custodial parent, your ability to pick up and go to another state may already be restricted by terms embedded in your divorce or child custody decree, or by state laws.
Situations involving moving children out of state, away from one biological parent, can be highly dramatic and contentious. Proper legal counsel can navigate disputes and seek solutions that are fair and equitable. The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates PLC has a strong background in family law, which comprises 50 percent of their practice. Their insightful counsel and proven ability to negotiate and settle complex disputes and transactions often saves clients time, money and grief.
Relocating children after a divorce to a geographical area where the non-custodial parent cannot easily spend time with them can trigger a new custody battle. There are several things you need to be mindful of:
- Your divorce decree may have come with a travel restriction that affects your ability to move beyond a geographical limit.
- State laws — completely separate from your divorce settlement — may dictate what you can and cannot do in terms of moving with the children.
- State laws may require specific procedures for custody dispute resolution.
- The non-custodial parent may file an objection with the court to block your move or file a petition to modify the original terms of the custody based on a threat of loss of relationship with the child or children.
Sometimes parents act without regard for the existing legal agreements, feeling “it’s a family matter” and should not be up to the courts. While negotiating with your ex, if this is possible, may be productive, any agreement must be finalized in writing and approved by the court. A change of mind later in an undocumented agreement could result in a contempt of court citation that leads to a fine or even jail time in the worst cases. Don’t assume anything your ex-spouse agrees to outside of a finalized agreement approved by a court will be binding on either of you or protect you from a contempt of court citation, which is a criminal offense potentially leading to jail time.
Get Legal Advice About Relocating Your Kids After a Divorce
The law offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates PLC has been helping families with their legal issues both in and out of court for over 13 years. Our experience enables us to cover all areas of legal issues relating to divorce settlements, child custody and amending or contesting agreements or judgements. Contact us today at 562-372-6868.