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Parental Relocation Attorneys Serving North Carolina and South Carolina

When a custodial parent wants to relocate with their son or daughter, the move can further complicate a challenging child custody situation and force a child to have a long-distance relationship with their other parent. If you are the noncustodial parent, relocation could make it difficult to maintain a healthy, normal relationship with your child. If you are the custodial parent, you might be worried that, even though the move is in the best interest of your child, a family relocation dispute will still arise over the potential effects on custody and visitation. 

At Collins Family & Elder Law Group, we understand the urgency and sensitivity of child custody relocation cases. Our parental relocations lawyers in NC and SC advocate tirelessly for clients and help them pursue the outcome they desire, whether they’re the custodial or noncustodial parent.

Seeking Court Approval for Family Relocation in North and South Carolina 

If the parent with primary physical custody is relocating for a new job opportunity, a new spouse, proximity to family, or simply a fresh start, that parent must petition the NC/SC court for permission. This requirement exists because the increased distance between the parents will make it more difficult for the noncustodial parent to continue frequent and meaningful visitation.

Before granting permission to the custodial parent, the court will consider all positive and negative effects that a move could have on the child’s life. From there, the court may approve such relocation and adjust the visitation schedule accordingly, deny the relocation, or modify the custody order by naming the other parent as the primary custodian. Below are some of the specific factors the court will look at when deciding whether or not relocation is in the best interests of your child:

  • How the proposed move would improve the child’s quality of life
  • The motives of the custodial parent seeking the move
  • The likelihood that a realistic visitation schedule will preserve and foster the parental relationship with the noncustodial parent
  • The child’s existing relationship with the noncustodial parent and frequency of contact
  • The child’s ties to their school, church, extended family members, and the community as a whole
  • The reasons for the noncustodial parent’s resistance to the move
  • The effects the relocation would have on visitation

Additional Considerations for Child Custody Relocation

If you are the custodial parent wanting to move your child out of state, here are some items to consider before doing so, to ensure that you can move legally and with minimal hassle.

  • Would a court consider the move to be in the best interests of your child? (Refer to the list above)
  • Do you have an agreement between you and your ex-spouse in writing regarding relocation?
  • Does your custody order contain any geographical boundaries that prohibit you from moving out of the state or country?
  • Does your separation agreement mention relocation conditions?
  • Have you spoken to the other biological parent about the move and obtained permission, if required by your current child custody order?
  • Do you need to modify your separation agreement or visitation schedule in order to accommodate your move?
  • Have you compiled a list of reasons that your relocation will benefit your child?

Make Sure You Understand the Terms of Your Custody Order

North Carolina and South Carolina child relocation laws don’t typically require a spousal agreement or a court order to be in place before you relocate. As long as you move to a home within the same county, you will likely be able to do so without needing to obtain court permission. However, if you intend to cross geographic boundaries, you should carefully reread your child custody order, if you have one.

If you don’t have a child custody order at the time of your move, you might run into some legal problems when you relocate — especially if you’ve lived in North Carolina or South Carolina for at least six months. Leaving without a court order, in this case, could give your ex-spouse something to hold against you in a future case for custody. Even worse — they could request a court order requiring you to bring your child back. 

If you do have a child custody order in place, it’s still wise to state your official, written intent to move, as this makes you look more favorable in the eyes of the court. If your child custody order does not permit you to move, you might still be able to modify it and move without breaking any laws. You’d also avoid penalties as well as the risk of court costs and attorney fees.  For further insight on local family relocation laws or help modifying or establishing a child custody order, talk to our parental relocations lawyers in NC and SC today.

Call Our Parental Relocation Lawyers in North Carolina or South Carolina

Whether you are seeking to move away with your child or you are the noncustodial parent opposing the relocation, it is in your best interest to be represented by a Collins Family & Elder Law Group child custody relocation attorney. The outcome of a relocation case can have long-lasting effects on your child and their relationship with their parents. There is no good reason to leave anything to chance.

When you feel ready to begin working with a parental relocation lawyer, the passionate team at Collins Family & Elder Law Group will be there to guide you. We will discuss your unique circumstances and provide the best possible legal guidance to help you achieve your desired outcome.

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