Just when you and your children have finally settled comfortably into your post-divorce lives, an amazing thing happens. Your employer rewards all your hard work with a promotion. Congratulations! However, as with so many things that seem completely wonderful at first blush, your promotion comes with a decided down side: it will require you to relocate to another state. Now what? Can you just pack up your kids and your household and move? Unfortunately, probably not.
State Post-Divorce Relocation Laws
Each state has its own laws and rules about when and under what circumstances you can relocate with children after a divorce. Your wisest course of action is to consult an experienced local divorce attorney as soon as possible. He or she can explain your state’s laws and what you need to do to accomplish your relocation and make it as smooth as possible. Since you’ll be moving out of state, you’ll undoubtedly need court permission to do it, even if you’re moving to a neighboring state.
Notice and Consent
In all likelihood, the first thing you’ll need to do is officially inform your former spouse of your planned move. Do this as soon as possible and do it by email or snail mail so you have a written record of when you notified him or her.
If he or she agrees to your relocation, and the two of you come up with a new parenting plan that gives him or her additional time with the children during their summer vacations and possibly their winter breaks to make up for the fact that he or she will no longer be living “right down the street” from them, this may be sufficient for the court’s oversight purposes. Keep in mind that the court that granted your divorce retains jurisdiction over your children until they reach their respective ages of majority.
Notice and Nonconsent
If your children’s other parent refuses to consent to your move, you likely will have to go before the court and present evidence of why this relocation serves your children’s best interests as well as your own. Your former spouse will then have the opportunity to present evidence of why he or she opposes the move.
In other words, for all practical purposes, you will be faced with a full-blown custody hearing. This is where having an experienced local divorce lawyer in your corner can make all the difference between being able to accept your promotion and having to forego it so as to remain living where you currently do.