Both you and your ex split custody of your children, but you have a problem. You’ve been offered a job that will provide you with almost double your salary, but it’s two states away. You know the distance is detrimental, but the money is too good to ignore the offer.
You should be aware that relocating with your child is not appropriate unless you have the approval of the court. The court will have to consider many factors before agreeing to a relocation, since it would change the way your custody rights work.
What can you do if you want to relocate with your children?
The first thing to do is to bring information about the new job and benefits of moving to your attorney. You and your attorney can then reach out to your ex-spouse and legal team to discuss possibilities. If your ex-spouse does not want to negotiate a new parenting plan or refuses to allow you to take the children with you, you can go to mediation, arbitration or court.
One thing that a court will consider closely is how far away you intend to move. Since you’re talking about moving several states away, the chances are that retaining custody is less likely than if you were moving only one hour or two hours away.
Another thing the court wants to look at is what your good-faith reasoning is for the move. This move will disrupt many aspects of your child’s life, from schooling to missing relatives to not getting to spend time with friends. Is it in your child’s best interests to move away? What are the benefits of moving? Will you be closer to family or be isolating yourself and your children in the hope of a better income?
Once you have your documentation ready, you’ll need to show what you expect for visitation and custody. How can you make this fair to the other parent? Do they have the funds to travel regularly, or will you have the time to take the children back and forth with any frequency? This is a substantial change in circumstances, so you should expect to go to court to seek a modification of your custody or visitation order. Remember, your ex-spouse can challenge the request, and they may win if you can’t show that the move is in the best interests of your children and their future as healthy, happy individuals.