While some aspects of your divorce agreement are largely set in stone, other parts may be modified. The law recognizes that a parent’s situation can change, and when it does, a modification to a child custody agreement may be in order. Maybe you’ve received a job offer. Perhaps you wish to move so you can be closer to your family.
Regardless of the reason behind your desire to move, you will need to get court approval if your move is more than 100 miles away from your current location or if you intend to move out-of-state. The process for modifying a custody agreement will differ depending on whether you have sole custody or shared custody.
When you have sole physical custody
If you have sole physical custody and your ex has parenting time every other weekend, the court will consider the following factors when making a modification determination:
- If the move is likely to improve your life and the life of your child
- The impact that a move will have on your child’s relationship with the other parent
- The motivation behind the request or opposition to the request
If the other parent is not involved in the child’s life, the road to approval is much easier.
When you have shared custody
Relocation requests are more complicated if you have shared custody. If the court decides that the child benefits from a relationship with both parents, it will apply the above factors along with determining what’s in the child’s best interest. When looking at the child’s best interest, the court may use any number of 12 different factors, including:
- The emotional ties between the child and both parents
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child
- The child’s preferences, depending on their age and level of maturity
The court doesn’t have to use all 12 factors when deciding. It will only apply the factors that it believes are relevant to the child’s best interest.
Don’t move unless you have court approval
You must follow the legal process for modifying your custody agreement. Failing to do so can result in serious consequences, including possible kidnapping charges. A skilled legal professional can help guide you through the modification process one step at a time.