Can I Move My Child Out-of-State Without the Custodial Parent’s Permission?

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According to my divorce agreement, I cannot move outside a 100-mile radius, or outside the state without serving my ex-husband a Notice of Intent to move. He is the “custodial” parent, although we agreed to true shared parenting, 50-50 for everything. When we divorced, I just wanted everything finalized, and because of that, I didn’t even hire my own lawyer. We did everything with one lawyer, and he got almost everything. The problem is, now I want to move, from TN to KS, for several reasons, most of which involve making my daughter’s life better. I have put together the notice of intent, including the reasons I want to move, etc as well as a specific “Best Interests of the Child” document outlining why I think it would be in her best interests to move with me rather than stay with her father. My question is this: If I serve him the Notice of Intent to move, does this mean I will just be allowed to move and take her with me if he doesn’t challenge it within 30 days? Or does that just mean I have notified him but there’s really nothing I can do because he’s the custodial parent, and if I take her he can report her missing or whatever. Also: If he does oppose it, which I’m 99.999% certain he will, will a judge actually change the custody agreement and make me the custodial parent with full custody so that I can move? I would really like to have an idea of my chances, because I really don’t want to stir up a mess and end up not being successful. Her father and I have remained civil thus far and I know we wouldn’t be once I start this process.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You need to discuss your matter in detail with a family law attorney. Serving your ex-husband with notice regarding your intent to move will likely not be sufficient to leave the state with your child. A hearing will likely have to occur in which both parties (you and your ex-husband) stipulate to a modified custody arrangement, or the judge will decide. If you leave the state with your child without the appropriate legal authorization, you may be arrested for parental kidnapping. You should speak with an attorney ASAP for legal advice.



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Author: House Attorney