I Want to Move!

I Want to Move!

Your divorce is finally over and you’re ready to start a new life in a new town.  Pack up the kids and get outta Dodge.  Then you remember that provision in your judgment of divorce that said something about changing the legal residence of your kids.  Or maybe you went through a support or custody action years ago and don’t really remember what you’re supposed to do if you want to move.

Whatever your situation is, if you have a court order that lays out custody and parenting time and you want to move, you’re going to want to follow the right steps to avoid any issues.

Under the Child Custody Act, you’re not allowed to change your children’s legal residence to a place that’s more than 100 miles from their residence at the time your initial court paperwork was filed, unless you have the court’s permission or certain exceptions exist.  This is called the 100 Mile Rule.

The 100 miles is calculated “as the crow flies” – in a straight line from Point A to Point B – and not along roads or highways.  To figure out the distance in your situation, try doing a web search for “distance between locations” and make sure to use a website that calculates distance based on air miles, radial miles, or “as the crow flies”.  You’re not going to want to use something like MapQuest because it will calculate the miles based on the route you would take to reach your destination using roadways.

If your desired move is less than 100 miles, then you’re good to go!  Just make sure to notify the Friend of the Court that you have a new address.

If your desired move is more than 100 miles, first see if any of the exceptions apply to your situation.  Exceptions to this rule include: if you have sole legal custody of your children; if the children’s two residences (one with mom and one with dad) were already more than 100 miles apart when the initial court papers were filed; if you have a provision in your custody order that handles moves exceeding 100 miles and your move is in compliance with that provision; or if you are moving to a safe location due to the threat of domestic violence.   If one of these exceptions apply, you may not need the court’s permission.  Our office can help you figure out if any of the exceptions apply to your situation.

Assuming none of the exceptions apply to your situation, you’ll need to get the court’s permission to move your children more than 100 miles.  The court will consider certain factors when deciding whether to approve your relocation.   The court will consider whether the relocation will be able to improve the quality of life for the children and you, the extent to which you and your children’s father have complied with the current parenting time order and if your desired move is a way to interfere with the parenting time schedule, whether it is possible to modify the parenting time schedule to still preserve the relationship between your children and their father, the reasons behind the father’s opposition to the move, and whether there is any domestic violence involved.

If you’re planning a move but have a custody or parenting time order in place, call our office to see what steps you need to take to avoid any issues.  Our office can also represent you in petitioning the court for approval to change your children’s legal residence.

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Rachel Frawley

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