If you are divorced and your children live with you, you must abide by the terms of your court-ordered custody agreement. If you decide that you want to relocate with your children, you cannot do so without the approval of the court.
If your ex-spouse does not contest your decision to move with your children, you can relocate with the court’s approval. However, if your ex does oppose your relocation, which is often the case, you will face a court hearing in which your ex will likely present a case for why you should not relocate. This may make your task decidedly more difficult.
Best interests of the child
When making their decisions regarding child custody and relocation, family law judges generally use the measuring stick of what is in the child’s best interest. If the judge feels that the move is in the child’s best interest, he or she will likely approve your request. However, there are many different factors that play a role in this decision, including the reasons why you propose the move would be better for you and your children.
Showing the necessity for the relocation
If you wish to relocate and your ex-spouse opposes the move, you will have to build a strategic and strong case for why the move is necessary and how it will affect your child or children. In some cases, a better job that offers higher income may justify a move. In other situations, the move does not necessarily create undue hardship in terms of visitation with the other parent, so there is less reason for the court to see it as detrimental to the children.
As soon as you know that you intend to move, begin the process of requesting permission through the appropriate legal channels. There are specifics regarding how to go about this process that vary from state to state, so you should inform yourself about how the procedure works in your geographic location and then take action accordingly.