How Relocation Affects Child Custody

Child Custody Lawyer

If during your divorce you obtained custody of your children, count yourself lucky, as many parents seek for this and do not get it. What happens to child custody now that you need to relocate? In some situations, it will stay the same, in others it will drastically change. Speaking with a lawyer is the best way to ensure the best outcome.


In most states, a relocating parent has to obtain consent from the non-custodial parent before a long-distance move. Some child custody proceedings include consent to begin with, while others do not. There could be a specified time period in which you would have to inform the other parent, so be sure you speak with your lawyer to ensure it all takes place in the amount of time it should. After the first parent expresses intent to move, the non-custodial parent will have a certain amount of time to consent or object.

Burden of Proof

The parent who wishes to relocate will have to offer good faith reasons the move should take place. Because the court does what is in the child’s best interest, they are not too keen on disrupting the child’s social or educational life. Good faith reasons might include moving closer to helpful extended family members, furthering your education to obtain better employment, moving to a safer area with better schools or other similar situations. If the non-custodial parent is able to prove the move is being done in bad faith, such as to seek revenge, the court may object to the request.

Keep in mind that a court may look at the non-custodial parent just as closely as the custodial parent who wishes to move. If that non-custodial parent flaked out on the agreed upon visitation schedule and was just overall absent in the child’s life, that may be reason to allow the move.


Modification of the child custody agreement will more than likely take place if both parents are active in the child’s life. For example, a non-custodial parent who has visitation every other weekend and on every other holiday may be granted longer visits to make up for the distance the child had to move. A custodial parent could also lose custody and become the non-custodial parent with limited visitation. It all depends on the unique circumstances of the child, the move and the parents.

Getting Legal Representation

Whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent in a situation where one parent has to relocate, you want what’s best for your child. Contact a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD today to help you get through the situation.

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and how relocating may affect child custody.