If you and your ex-spouse have a custody and visitation agreement, moving to another state (or even another county) could pose a problem. When planning on relocating your kids after divorce, you and your ex-spouse will need to reach an agreement or have the court decide for you. However, neither parent may like the court’s decision.
Filing a Petition With the Court To Relocate After Divorce
The custodial parent must notify the court and the non-custodial parent of their intent to move at least 30 days before relocating. The non-custodial parent can either agree to or contest the petition for relocation.
If the other parent contests the request, the court will consider which factors would be in the child’s best interest regarding relocation and visitation. These include:
- The child’s age, health, and developmental needs
- The relationship the child has with each parent
- Each parent’s age, health, and mental condition
- Each parent’s desire to maintain a relationship with their child and help their child maintain a relationship with the other parent
Usually, the court will require an update to the parenting plan for visitation and length of visits. Because the distance will be greater, the court often changes the schedule to fewer visits of longer duration, such as allowing the non-custodial parent most of the summer break while the child stays with the custodial parent during the school year.
Your Best Option: Reach an Agreement Before Filing the Petition
The court may not reach a decision that either parent likes. If you and your ex-spouse want the best arrangement for yourselves and your child, try reaching an agreement before taking the petition before the court to relocate your kids after divorce.
If you’re the custodial parent and want to relocate out of state, you must ensure your child has the time and resources to complete summer projects. While summer vacation might normally give your child two and a half months, travel and lack of access to school supplies or classmates could set your child back at the beginning of the school year.
You and your ex might agree to a month and a half during summer, alternating holidays between parents for Thanksgiving and winter break holidays, and alternating spring break visitation.
Updating the Parenting Plan for Child Custody and Visitation
If you and your ex reach an agreement that you both find acceptable, the court will likely approve your terms to update the parenting plan. The court may also decide on additional measures, such as the relocating parent being responsible for the cost of travel for visitation.
Speak to a Virginia Family Law Firm for Help Filing a Petition to Move
If you plan on relocating your kids after divorce and are the parent with physical custody in your parenting plan, contact us at DiPietro Law Group. With offices in Fairfax, VA, and Washington, DC, we serve families across Northern Virginia and the DC Metro area. Call us today at (888) 530-4374 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.