In previous blogs, I have covered a vast majority of the many aspects of child custody, and the arrangements, support payments, and rules that operate in that area. Court-ordered custody arrangements have, and can, work well for families for years, even the entirety of childhood. It is especially common when both parents live in proximity of each other. However, there are instances when ex-spouses need to move further apart, perhaps even out of the state.

The dilemma the court sometimes has to face is when the non-custodial parent opposes the move because that spouse will lose the valuable and sparse visitation time they have with the child. In these types of situations, custodial parents almost always have to go to the court and ask the judge to grant permission to move the child or children out of the state. These can be one of the hardest types of custody battles/disputes.

The courts generally don’t allow the child to be removed from the state of residence without prior approval from the very court that issued the initial custody order. Custodial parents that want to move the children out of the state must first get the court’s permission, as stated. If the custodial parent moves out of state with the child without this permission, and if the non-custodial spouse does not approve, there might be court-ordered sanctions brought upon the custodial parent, including orders of contempt, leading to fines and even possible jail time.

Move-away orders can be entered by either consent of both parents, or by the court after a hearing. If the parents agree to an out-of-state move, there must be a written agreement, aka stipulation and consent agreement. This will be turned into a court order after receiving the judge’s approval. If the parents can’t agree, a co-parenting counselor or mediator, who is trained in child custody issues, can be of help in resolving these matters. If this doesn’t work either, a motion will have to be filed by the moving parent, asking the court to grant the request.