Child Custody: Relocating With a Child

A father playing with his son

Relocating is a part of life. People move to other states for family, for work, or a change of scenery. When child custody is involved, relocation is a touchy subject that parents struggle to reach an agreement on. This struggle exists because parents want to maximize their time with their children, and also want some peace of mind in knowing their child is nearby. Relocating with a child puts both of these desires at risk.

Child Custody Agreements and Orders Impose Relocation Limitations

Child custody agreements and orders will almost always contain restrictions on relocating a child. These restrictions will generally enjoin a custodial parent from moving a child outside a specified range (i.e., outside of the state) without the consent of the other parent or approval from the court. In addition, even if there is no restriction on relocating in an agreement or order, Nevada law automatically prohibits relocation with children without written permission or an order of the court. Therefore, parties seeking to relocate must seek a modification of the child custody order before moving the child.

Always Get Court Approval Before Relocation

Relocating a child without this consent or court approval is not a good choice, as it represents a violation of a court order and Nevada law. This exposes the non-compliant parent with an enforcement action which can have negative consequences of sanctions, a contempt finding, and restrictions on that parent’s custodial rights. Even worse, moving a child outside of the state in violation of a child custody order¬†is considered abduction, with negative custodial AND criminal implications for the parent.

What Courts Consider When Weighing Relocation

Courts consider relocation requests very carefully. They do so because an inevitable consequence of moving a child to a different state than a parent is less frequent parent-child contact. This defies the state’s policy of encouraging ample parent-child visitation to allow the relationship to flourish. While Facetime and Skype allow for real-time video contact, courts recognize that this isn’t an adequate substitute for in-person contact.

So when considering whether it is in a child’s best interest to relocate to another state with the custodial parent, a court may weigh whether:

  • There is a good-faith reason for the move;
  • The relocating parent and child will benefit from an actual advantage from the move;
  • Extended visitation periods with a non-custodial parent will adequately protect the parent-child relationship;
  • The logistics and costs of driving or flying the child from one state to the other, and who will bear those travel costs;
  • Whether the custodial parent has demonstrated a willingness to facilitate a relationship between the child and the other parent, or whether there is an indication that the custodial parent has been a hindrance in that regard.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

If you have a desire to relocate with your children, or are facing a situation where the other parent desires to relocate, contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. Our attorneys are experienced, proven family law professionals who focus on establishing a strong attorney-client relationship with our clients. We understand that our clients put their trust in us, and we work hard in recognition of our duties. You have significant legal rights when it comes to your children, and we can help you protect them. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.

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