Moving guide for divorced parents


For divorced parents, moving locations has an extra layer of difficulty. Depending on your divorce agreement, your ex-spouse probably has some say in the matter. Before finding new housing and renting a U-Haul, find out if and where you may actually be allowed to move.

If you have full custody and your ex-spouse has no visiting rights, you’re in the clear and can move wherever you wish. But if your children’s other parent has visitation rights, your new location may become more complicated.

If you’re moving within the state, it’s not usually an issue, though you should still talk with your ex-spouse beforehand so they can figure out how they’ll be able to find time to see their kids if the commute, their schools and extracurricular activities’ schedules may make distances significantly more disruptive. Moving to another state is more complicated. You need consent from your ex-spouse and permission from the court. The process is called removal and in some cases it can be a lengthy battle. If your ex will not consent, you will have to convince the court moving to a new state is what’s best for your children. Reasons why a move out of state would be considered valid might be because you got a job offer that will improve their living condition, because of better schools, to be close to extended family, or any number of personal reasons.

Every removal case is different. If both parents agree on what’s best for the child, it can go smoothly. However, many removal cases are fraught with tension and can take months to settle. Here are a few things the judge will consider:

  • Why you’re moving. You should have a “legitimate” reason for moving to another state. Simply because you want to or you like the weather better is not enough. Job transfers, a new marriage to someone in another state, caring for an ill family member, and things of that nature are more commonly accepted.

  • How the move will improve your children’s lives. Will the neighborhood and schools be on par or better than those of your current home? Will the home environment stay the same? Will childcare be provided, if needed? The judge will compare your current situation to your proposed new situation and make an assessment.

  • Whether or not your children’s relationship with the other parent will be affected. The judge will want your children to maintain a relationship with both parents as much as possible. If weekly visitation is no longer possible, that could be an issue. However, if your ex-spouse can receive longer visitation rights during summer vacations, holidays or other school breaks that could help. Similarly, if your ex-spouse doesn’t currently exercise his or her visitation rights, it will be easier to gain removal.

Keep in mind that moving to another state could change your financial status in the divorce. If one parent can no longer exercise weekly visitation and has to undertake financial costs to visit or take on longer visitation periods, the judge may take that under consideration and you could be required to pay transportation costs as the parent who chose to move.

Moving to a new state is sometimes necessary, whether for work, family, or personal reasons. Mike Schiffman has often worked with clients and negotiated such matters during his career and wants what’s best for his clients and their children. Mike has both the experience and strives to get the best results for his clients to begin the next chapter in their lives.. Schiffman Family Law is committed to his clients well-being, working personally managing every case, so clients may get on with their lives. . Schedule a free one-hour consultation with Mike Schiffman today.