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Can a custodial parent move out of state with their child?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Family Law

Sometimes, a custodial Virginia parent may want to move out of the state with their child. Before doing this, knowing the laws and taking certain steps is necessary.

Pre-move steps

If a custodial parent plans to move out of Virginia with their child, there are important steps to take prior to the move. Notice must be given to the non-custodial parent about the moving plans. The other parent must also give express consent to the move.

The parent who plans to move should do so only up to a certain distance from the other so that visitation with the child is still possible. If this is not possible, the move may not be approved. For instance, moving across the country would hinder the other parent’s ability to enjoy visitation with the child.

Moving out of state with the child

Once the court has issued a decision on child custody and visitation to parents, those orders must be followed. Both parents are required to comply with the terms of the custody order. This stands even if the custodial parent suddenly wants to move out of state. The parents can request parenting time modifications from the court, but it is not automatically approved. The custodial parent must have legitimate reasons for wanting to move out of the state.

The move must be in the child’s best interests. If the court finds that it would not be, it might require custody to be transferred to the non-custodial parent. However, this depends on the circumstances of the case.

Moving out of state with your child without express permission from the other parent is never advised. It could result in jail or fines and even the loss of custody.