How far can a parent move with joint custody?
Parents always ask us this when they are considering moving.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Let’s dig in.
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When it comes to how far can a parent move with joint custody, there are no limitations.
But a parent with joint custody needs to get court approval to move.
This is especially true when moving with joint custody affects parenting time for either parent.
Let’s talk about how does joint custody work.
There are two types of joint custody.
There is legal joint custody and physical joint custody.
Legal joint custody means that both parents share the responsibility of making decisions for the child.
These decisions pertain to healthcare, education, and legal rights for the child.
Physical joint custody has to do with who the child lives with and the visitation schedule.
Joint custody means that the parents are working together to raise the child.
While the parents may no longer get along, they still need to co-parent well for the child.
This is especially true when looking at how far can a parent move with joint custody.
Moving away means that physical and legal joint custody may get modified.
And that it’s going to be more difficult on the child.
The parents should really consider how well they can co-parent when moving with joint custody.
How far apart parents can live and still have 50/50 custody is up to the judge.
Most family lawyers will recommend that you live within 20 miles of each other.
This is because the further away you live, the least likely the judge will let you have 50/50 custody.
Technically, you can live as far apart as you want and still have 50/50 custody.
Again, it’s up to the judge.
They may not think that you can reasonably get your child to school each day.
If that’s the case, you won’t get 50/50 custody.
And let’s say you’re the parent who has moved out of the school district.
You’d be the one who only gets weekends.
You can move out of your child’s school district without changing or losing custody.
But if it affects your ability to get the child to their school or activities, you could lose custody.
A non-custodial parent moving out of state does not need permission to move.
You’ll need to send the custodial parent a Letter of Intent stating that you’re moving.
There are no distance limitations for how far a parent can move with joint custody.
So, a non-custodial parent moving out of state is allowed.
You’ll need to go to court to modify your child custody and visitation schedule.
If you don’t go to court, you won’t get new court orders.
And the custodial parent is legally allowed to withhold visitation.
Even though they are allowed to, when they withhold visitation, you can take them to court.
But then the judge will learn that you moved out of state without getting new custody orders.
And that you have not been showing up for your court-ordered visitation.
Most likely, they will not be on your side.
When figuring out how far can a parent move with joint custody, you’ll have a relocation court case.
When a parent moves far away, it’s impossible for them to follow their custody orders.
So, let’s talk about how to win a relocation custody case.
This way, you can move and still maintain your joint custody.
First, you need to hire a child custody attorney.
Your attorney will file your Letter of Intent of Relocation.
After this, the other parent needs to get served with the Letter of Intent.
Once they have been served, they can respond in two ways:
When the other parent objects, a court hearing gets scheduled.
And the parent moving with joint custody needs to defend their case for relocation.
They need to prove that the relocation improves the child’s quality of life.
Because a judge is always making decisions based on the best interest of the child.
They will either approve or deny how far a parent can move with joint custody.
But what if the other parent ignores the Letter of Intent?
The relocating parent needs to file:
In this case, the parent will most likely win a relocation custody case.
Related: Signing Over Parental Rights
There are two scenarios for what happens when a non-custodial parent moves away.
These two scenarios are:
Domicile restrictions are restrictions on the location of your home residence.
For example, there may be a domicile restriction that the custodial parent cannot move away.
But, what happens when the non-custodial parent moves away?
Usually, domicile restrictions state that if the non-custodial parent moves away, then the custodial parent can move.
When the non-custodial parent moves away, this lifts the restriction on the custodial parent.
This means there is no restriction on how far can a parent move with joint custody.
How far can a parent move with joint custody based on a distance in miles?
There are no laws stating how many miles away a custodial parent can move.
How far a parent can move with joint custody depends on the judge.
They want the custodial parent to prove that moving improves the quality of the child’s life.
For instance, reasons the judge will approve the custodial parent’s move are:
So, how far can a parent move with joint custody depends on these types of factors.
Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child
There are laws non-custodial parents need to follow when moving out of state with a child.
The non-custodial parent has to notify the custodial parent that they are moving.
A custodial parent has to be given a Notice of Proposed Relocation 60 days before moving out of state.
If you have full custody, you can move out of state.
But you have to get court approval to do so.
And the judge will have to change the custody orders.
A parent with full custody can move out of state by:
When you have full custody and move out of state, the non-custodial parent is giving up time with the child.
Most non-custodial parents will not agree to this.
But, if your co-parent does agree to this, you can create a new child custody agreement.
And file this agreement with a Petition To Modify Custody.
You can find these papers at your local Superior Court.
Or a child custody lawyer can file this for you.
But what if the non-custodial parent does not agree to you moving out of state?
Then you’ll have to petition the courts to allow you to relocate.
Just note that the judge most likely will not approve a custodial parent moving out of state.
This is because they want both parents involved in the child’s life.
There would have to be good reasons to change custody, like:
In scenarios like this, it’s in the child’s best interest to be in a new environment.
And this helps the judge decide how far a parent can move with joint custody.
Related: Custody Battle For Fathers
What happens when a non-custodial parent moves out of state without notice?
Let’s assume that there are custody orders and a visitation schedule in place.
When the non-custodial parent moves out of state without notice, they are violating these orders.
Because they are not able to continue to comply with the visitation schedule.
And since these are custody orders, the non-custodial parent can get held in contempt.
Contempt, here, just means that they are violating those custody orders.
Since you moved without notice, the judge is likely to side with the custodial parent.
And modify the custody orders more in their favor.
Yes, a non-custodial parent can move out of state.
But this will change the visitation schedule.
Most non-custodial parents get roughly equal time with their children.
But a non-custodial parent moving out of state makes this more difficult.
The judge will change the custody orders to reflect the availability of the non-custodial parent.
This will reduce the visitation time that the non-custodial parent gets.
Usually, a non-custodial parent living out of state only gets:
And, depending on how far a parent moves with joint custody, it could be even less.
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