RELOCATION And Child Custody
Will a Judge Modify Custody if One Parent Relocates?
UNDER NORTH CAROLINA LAW
Once a court has established custody, a parent can’t modify the custody order unless: (1) there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting the child’s well-being; and (2) a change in custody would serve the child’s best interests.
HOW WILL A JUDGE DECIDE A RELOCATION CASE?
Generally, when a parent announces their plans to move, if the non-moving parent objects to the move, the non-moving parent can file a motion to modify custody. In most cases, a judge will review the motion and schedule a hearing to hear additional evidence for the relocation and reasons for adjusting custody. You will likely need to testify at a relocation hearing. It’s also helpful to bring witnesses, such as family friends, a child’s teacher, a babysitter, and any other caregivers that can offer testimony in support of your case.
In reviewing whether a change in custody is appropriate based on one parent’s relocation, a judge will review the following factors:
- the advantages of the relocation, including quality of life and available educational opportunities
- the parent’s reasons for the move
- whether the planned move is in good faith
- how the relocation may interfere with the other parent’s visitation
- how a realistic visitation schedule can be established with the non-moving parent
- the child’s adjustment to the current home and community
- the likelihood that the custodial parent will comply with visitation orders, and
- any other factor the court deems relevant.
in north carolina
COURTS ALWAYS CONSIDER THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD
When courts need to make decisions about child custody and visitation, they consider what arrangement will be in the child’s best interests. (They are much more interested in what’s best for the child than they are in the parents’ concerns.) Most judges consider things like whether the current situation is working well for the child (if so, they’re unlikely to change it) and which parent will be most likely to support the child’s relationship with the other parent (a cooperative parent has an advantage in a custody dispute). Beyond these basic things, though, each state has its own rules about what is in the child’s best interests. Click on your state below to find out what your state’s rules are and look at articles and FAQs for more information.
When you are the custodial parent and feel like you have the right to take your child wherever you decide to move but this matter is contrary to North Carolina law. You need either an agreement with the other parent, or a court order approving the relocation.