With Joint Custody, Can a Parent Take a Child Out of State Without Permission?
As a father, you obviously want the best for your children. Sometimes, this means relocating with the child, if the move would result in a better environment and better education. On the other hand, you may need to protect your children by preventing your spouse from relocating far away and making it difficult for you to visit your kids. If you and your spouse share joint custody of your children, it can be hard to determine exactly what right either spouse has to move a child without permission.
The bottom line is that you should always consult with a lawyer before taking a child out of state or even making a substantial move without permission. Most states have strict laws concerning this matter, and they are constantly changing. These laws exist because your divorce and custody agreements are made under the assumption that each spouse will maintain their current living arrangements. When either spouse relocates, the move can cause visitation and custody agreements to be reconsidered.
If you move and take a child out of state without permission, the consequences can be quite severe. The courts can order that you not only return to your state with the child, but you can also be held responsible for the other spouse’s attorneys fees, and you could potentially have your custodial rights diminished or removed. It is crucial that you consult with an attorney before ever taking any action to remove the child from the state, or even over fifty miles. Once the move has already been made, you put yourself and the child in jeopardy.
On the other hand, if your spouse is planning to move over fifty miles away, or out of state, understand that you have the right to speak up and have a say in this matter. If your spouse relocates with the child, you have the right to have new custody and visitation arrangements considered. In order to compensate for the relocation, the courts may allow for longer visitation periods, and the spouse that moves may be held accountable for the cost of transportation needed for the visitation.
Regardless of if you are the parent moving, or if your spouse is moving, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you stay up to date as possible with the current laws, and ensure that your rights as a father, or mother, are represented strongly. Whenever the custody and visitation rights are being negotiated, you always want to have someone fighting assertively on your side.