Can a Custodial Parent Move Out of State with a Minor Child?

Mom comforting her daughter about her divorce.

Figuring out child custody can be a difficult process. But even after custody has been established parents are required to abide by the laws that govern related issues. One of these related issues concerns moving with a minor child. In Virginia, if a custodial parent wishes to move out of state with a minor child, they must provide advanced notice to both the other parent and the court. Should the other parent disagree with the move, they have the right to request that the court deny the relocation or they can ask for a change in custody. 

Reporting a Desire to Relocate

If a custodial parent wants to move with their minor child or change their child’s address in any way, they must report it to the court and the other parent at least 30 days prior to when the move would occur. Prior to a judge approving of the relocation, the parent who is requesting the change must show the court that the move would be in the child’s best interest. This means that they must demonstrate that there is an advantage to the parent and that it would not be harmful to the best interest of the child. This may require presenting evidence such as documents or witnesses who can help to support the reason for the move. 

Best Interest Factors

In these cases, the court will also look at best interest factors before approving the move. Such factors include:

  • The child’s age;
  • The child’s physical and mental well-being;
  • The relationship between each parent and the child;
  • The role of each parent in the child’s upbringing (past, present, and future);
  • The needs of the child;
  • The other familial relationships of the child’s;
  • The child’s preference should he or she be mature enough to express one;
  • Any history of family or sexual abuse;
  • The propensity that each parent has to support the other’s relationship with the child;
  • The ability of each parent to cooperate; and
  • Any other relevant factors that the court deems important.

Once these factors have been evaluated, the court may report its decision to you immediately or may choose to send you a letter in the mail. You are not permitted to relocate unless and until the court provides approval. 

Non-Custodial Parent Disagreement

Should the non-custodial parent disagree with the relocation of the child, they may request that the court modify the custody order. However, the court will not consider this unless the parent seeking the transfer of custody can prove that there has been a change in circumstances since the entry of the last court order, and that a modification would be in the best interest of the child. But above all else, the court will always look at what’s in the best interest of the child. 

Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA to Fight for Their Parental Rights

Parents have the right to fight for their parental rights and their relationship with their children. If you believe that your rights have been violated and your custody or visitation with your children impacted, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Virginia family law attorney.

At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we have experience with family law and issues surrounding child custody. We will help you to fight for what it is that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Child Custody