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Can I Move Outside of North Carolina with my Child?

Abstract: It is important to read over your custody arrangement before making the decision to move your child out of North Carolina. The court may have something to say about this decision, especially if the other parent objects. Learn about your custody rights and consider legal representation before you make the move.

Moving out of North Carolina with your child can prove to be complicated. Multiple factors influence just how easily you can accomplish your goal without bringing legal problems into your life. Before you begin packing your luggage, take the time to consider your legal options first.

Custody Arrangement

Most parents arrange for a written custody arrangement when they get a divorce. Doing so allows them to have a set of clear-cut rules laying out the dos and don’ts of child visitation. However, following those rules may become impossible if one parent decides to move a child out of North Carolina.

Plus, some custody agreements do list restrictions on the number of miles a parent can move a child away from the other parent. It is even possible that the custody agreement states neither parent can move a child out of North Carolina.

If you decide to ignore the restrictions listed in your custody agreement, your actions break the law. Therefore, you may be held in contempt of court. You may also discover a sheriff arriving at your new location outside of North Carolina. Moreover, this type of action goes against you when you need to appear before a judge and ask for permission to relocate out of the state.

Existing Custody Orders

Whether you have joint or sole custody of the child, you still need to comply with the existing custody arrangement. After all, both parents have the right to child visitation. In most cases, the parent requesting to move their child out of North Carolina should file a custody modification prior to moving in order to avoid problems. The custody modification can provide legal permission to relocate, especially if the other parent agrees to it.

Joint and Sole Custody Issues

Realistically, the issues are the same whether you have joint or sole custody. You still need to review your custody arrangement to see if it contains any restrictions regarding the distance you can legally move with the child.

Factors Influencing the Court Regarding Relocation

Neither parent can simply relocate without notifying either the other parent or the court. Before the court provides approval, it will look at numerous factors. The most important of these include:

  • Whether the move preserves the best interests of the child
  • The motivating factors of the parent resisting the relocation
  • The motivation of the parent requesting relocation approval
  • The probability the parent moving will comply with the custody visitation orders once this parent is no longer a resident of North Carolina and subject to its jurisdiction
  • The probability that an agreeable visitation schedule can be adhered to in the foreseeable future

Co-parenting is difficult enough without worrying about your ex taking your child out of North Carolina or fighting over the legal right to do so yourself. If you cannot obtain a court order giving approval or find agreement with the child’s other parent, you won’t be able to move your child out of North Carolina. Consider getting legal representation or guidance for assistance with this decision to ease the process and better your chances for a successful conclusion.