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A look at child custody relocation laws

While child custody can understandably be top of mind for many parents, as life changes another concern that may be top of mind is parental relocation and parental relocation laws. When a custodial parent needs to relocate with a child, it can cause disruption and disputes and raise serious concerns related to child custody for that family.

In some circumstances, such as a job change, a custodial parent may have an understandable reason why they wish to relocate. Alternately, it can also be understandable why a noncustodial parent may not want the custodial parent to relocate with the child which may significantly disrupt the child custody and visitation arrangement between the parents.

When the family law court is asked to determine if it should permit a parental relocation request, it will always seek to determine what is in the best interests of the child and if the proposed relocation would serve that ultimate interest. The way the court will evaluate the request may vary by state so it is important to understand the rules in the state where the parents and child reside and where the request will be made. The request may be evaluated based on the distance proposed of the request; whether or not the proposed relocation request is made in good faith; or the impact it will have on a visitation schedule and the travel costs that may be involved.

In addition, parents are permitted to agree to a relocation but if they are not able to agree, the family law system provides important resources for parents to resolve their relocation-related concerns. It is helpful for parents to be familiar with the tools the family law process provides when parental relocation is at issue.

Source:, "Child Custody Relocation Laws," Accessed Nov. 9, 2017

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