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If I have full custody, may I move out of state without the permission of the Court?

Not necessarily.  It will depend on the language in your order and whether or not the move will frustrate the parenting time or other rights of the other parent.  If there are no restrictions on the order you may be allowed to move initially, but then your former spouse could potentially ask for the original order to be modified.  If your former spouse agrees to your move, contact your attorney to prepare and submit the necessary documents to your former spouse and the court for approval.  If your former spouse objects to your move and applies to the court for a modification, the court will have a hearing for the judge to decide whether or not there has been a substantial change in circumstances affecting your child.

If the judge believes there has been a substantial change in circumstance affecting your child you will now need to prove that the move is in the best interests of your child.  This means you will need to prove that moving will benefit your child.  Some factors the court will consider are: your motives for moving; your former spouse’s motives for objecting to the move; whether you will likely comply with the custody order; whether ability to have a realistic parenting schedule that will preserve and foster the relationship of your child with your former spouse; and whether the minor child will benefit from the move.   Therefore, it is helpful to have a legitimate reason for the move.

Some legitimate reasons for your move include: Removing the child from a dangerous peer group; or you are being transferred or have the opportunity for a better job, that will allow your child to have a better standard of living. The court will consider strongly how the move will affect the parenting plan that is in place and the relationship the minor child has with the other parents.  It is important to begin your case a soon as possible, so you will time to get a final court ruling determining whether you may move out of state with your child prior to your move.  You do not want to have already moved and then have the judge require that the child move back.  This would provide unnecessary disruption to both of your life and your child life.

Eric C. Trosch

Eric C. Trosch

NC Board Certified Family Law Specialist

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