How Can I Relocate With My Child After Divorce?

11How Can I Relocate with My Child After Divorce?

Parenting is often difficult after a divorce. When parents go their separate ways, they still have responsibilities to their children. Usually, both parents share legal custody of their child in that they are both able to make important decisions regarding the life of their child. Some of these decisions revolve around the child’s health, education, and religion, among others. Often, children reside primarily with one parent while they enjoy regular visitation with the other parent. The custodial parent may want to move out of the area after a divorce. Before you relocate, you need to make sure that you do so in a way that is legal.


Are There Restrictions on Relocation After Divorce?

Unlike some states, North Carolina does not have a law that prohibits relocation outside of a specific area after divorce. Instead, the law relies on your child custody order. Each case is different and may have unique details regarding how the parents handle relocation after divorce. The parents must follow the custody order. It is important to know that if you violate a court custody order, you could be breaking the law. For example, if the order states that you cannot move further than 50 miles away and you move anyway, your actions are not in accordance with the order.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What are my custody rights if the other parent moves?”


Obtain a Modification

If your custody order prohibits you from taking your child and moving away, you must first obtain a modification to the court custody order. You must have a legitimate reason for needing to relocate. For instance, you may need to move for your employment, or you might need to be closer to your family, where you can obtain better childcare. The court will have a hearing with both parents. It is helpful to talk to a family law attorney to help you prepare for the hearing. Your attorney will also represent you during the hearing.


There are many things to consider prior to the hearing. You will want to think about how and when visitations will occur and who will pay for the extrakid-playing-with-ball-1376141-scaled travel expenses. You may also need to re-think vacations and holidays since it will not be as easy to share these times. If the other parent opposes the move, it could make for a difficult situation.


Make Changes to Your Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is part of a court custody order. It provides guidelines for custody and visitation arrangements. You cannot simply make changes to a parenting plan outside of court. However, you should review the document to ensure that you abide by the rules set forth. A parenting plan may include details for how and when relocation is allowed. If you are setting up a parenting plan for the first time, it is essential to address how you and your spouse will deal with relocation. You may want to allow relocation within a certain area, such as a 50-mile radius of your current home. You may also want to prohibit relocation out of state. Once in place, you will need to go back to court to get any changes. Keep in mind that even if your former spouse verbally agrees to your relocation, you may request a modification consent order to obtain a court modification.


If you need to relocate after divorce, allow plenty of time to get a court hearing to review the modification request. Contact our experienced legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.


The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



child custody | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (

Visitation | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


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