Can I move to another state and keep child custody? 26 Answers as of June 26, 2013

What can happen if I move to another state with my daughter and I have full custody and her father doesn't have any right or parenting time in place? Could I get in trouble in the long run when he finally feels like going to court and getting rights?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
In general, each parent has a right to have a relationship with his/her child(ren). Most parenting plans require you to give your ex notice of your plan to move so that he will have the opportunity to respond. If your ex has no objection, then the court will take note of that. In the long run, it would be the wiser choice to give all the proper notices.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/2/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Since there is apparently no court order establishing paternity and parental rights for the father, your use of the term "full custody" doesn't really have any legal meaning. Because you are the ONLY parent, you have ALL the parental rights until the father obtains some specific rights in a parenting plan adopted by a court. That means you are free to relocate and there nothing to cause you to "get in trouble" if you do so. However, if the father has maintained a healthy relationship with the child even without a legal basis, you may not be serving her best interests and you may give the father ammunition to argue for significant parenting time in court regardless of where you may be living.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/24/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
If there is no court order in place establishing custody you can move. I would however provide the father with contact information (unless there are DV issues present).
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
Is there a court order in place?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/26/2013
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
If there is not any Court action pending nor a custody order in place then you can move with your daughter to another state.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/22/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    The best policy is to file a Petition for Relocation. If you have full custody without any court order, you might be able to move and then file a Petition to Confirm Custody after you live for 6 months in your new Home State, but that would be a rare exception to the rule
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Generally speaking, if there are no court orders granting him parenting time, then you do not need his consent or a court order to relocate out of state; however, if your relocation causes him to step forward and assert a claim, the court will have to make a determination of whether the relocation is in your child's best interests. I recommend you speak with an attorney before taking any action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/22/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    If the father has not established his legal paternal rights, you cannot get in trouble to the extent of an kind of criminal liability. The problem you may encounter, is that after you leave the state, if the father does file a paternity action, it is very possible that the judge may order you to return the child to the jurisdiction. This is especially true if you have not been a resident of another state for more than 6 months. Florida would still have exclusive jurisdiction to make child custody determinations under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Ace (UCCJEA), as Florida would be the home state of the child. Before making any move, I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in further detail and learn all of your rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO | Ryan J. Lewis
    You can move wherever you want to. However the Nebraska will have jurisdiction for six months after you leave.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    IF you have full legal and physical custody of the child and father has no visitation per the court order you can move to another state without court permission. However, check your court order to see what it says about if you have to give the father notice if you leave the state.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you have sole legal and sole physical custody the presumption is that you are able to relocate. However, in some cases even if you have sole legal and sole physical your orders might read that you are not allowed to move. Also, you could not move without a court order if the move would impair his court ordered visitation. I normally advise clients to obtain an order before they relocate so they don't have to worry about it down the road.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It is possible. Under Minnesota law, however, a Motion must be filed to relocate. A court must consider whether the relocation is in the child's best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Depending upon your current order, you should get permission to move to another state.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Yes. HOWEVER, there are some statutory provisions that you have to follow. There is a summary of them in your parenting plan. There is, however, a good bit more to the process that the summary really tells you. So, the bottom line is: You can move, but you have to jump through the hoops first to do it.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    A parent with sole custody may not, despite an order of sole custody, relocate out of state with a child without the other parent's consent in writing or a court order allowing relocation. That being said, it should not be too difficult to obtain that court order if you have sole custody, depending on the reason sole custody was originally granted and whether or not there has been a material change in circumstances since that time which would allow the other parent some custodial/visitation time. If the father has never signed an affidavit of paternity or acknowledged the child, is not on the birth certificate and has done nothing to acknowledge his parental rights, you may be able to relocate without his permission.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Offices of Gregory L. Laurance
    Law Offices of Gregory L. Laurance | Anastasia Ganatsios
    I strongly suggest you retain an attorney to review your existing custody/timeshare orders BEFORE moving out of state. If you truly have sole legal and sole physical custody of your daughter, with no timeshare to the father and no restrictions on removal of the child from the state (notice or consent requirements), then you could very well be fine. Beware, however, if the father decides at some point to modify the custodial/timeshare arrangement, please be advised that the court in which the orders were initially made will retain jurisdiction, absent certain limited circumstances that may or may not arise in your particular case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    It depends on your current court Order. You may be restricted from moving out of state without his written permission or a court order. Read it and then call an attorney for a free phone consultation to figure out a proper game plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    If he has any rights at all as far as access he can try to intervene and ask the court to determine whether the move is appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Full explanation, both for custody and relocation, is set out at http://www.willicklawgroup.com/child_custody_visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You can lawfully move to another state with either the other parent's consent or a court order.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Unless you have a court order stating you cannot leave the court's jurisdiction without consent there is no reason you cannot relocate. Once you are the other state you should register your child support and custody order so that state takes jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    You should review your custody order to see if you are required to give advance notice of your intent to move.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    With no parenting plan,you can do what you want but so can he.Meaning, you move, and you could find out one afternoon that he's come to the school and "stolen" the kids back.To avoid this chaos, file for divorce, seek permission to move and it will probably be granted if you are the primary caretaker and you're moving for a good reason.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Theiler & Mourtos Attorneys at Law
    Theiler & Mourtos Attorneys at Law | Devan J. Theiler, Esq.
    It depends on what you mean by "full custody." Generally speaking, you need either the permission of the other parent or a Court Order to take a child out of state (either temporarily or permanently). To be certain you are protected, you should get his permission in writing. Ideally, it would be a formal agreement that he signs and has notarized. Anything in writing is better than nothing however.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/21/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    You didn't state whether you were married to the child's father; also you didn't state whether there is a prior custody order in effect and if so what is says. Therefore I can only answer your question in a general way. If there is a prior custody order in effect and you have physical and legal custody and the father has no parenting time or visitation rights, you should be able to move to another state without a problem (although he can file litigation to modify and get visitation time and create a court case here in GA after you leave). If there is no custody order in effect and you are not married, you already have full custody and can leave the state. If you are married, you each have equal custodial rights, and while you can leave the state with the children, if he files a custody or visitation action - or divorce action - after you leave it could complicate things.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/21/2011
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