In the past, the custodial parent could move wherever they wanted and the non-custodial parent had no say in the matter. Today however, many states have begun to move away from that line of thinking, recognizing that the disruption in visitation with the non-custodial parent could be detrimental to the child.
Because of this change in perception, some courts now require that the custodial parent give adequate notice before any kind of drastic move and must gain the approval of the non-custodial parent and/or the court before the move can take place.
The custodial parent must have a good reason for the move, such as a new spouse that lives in the proposed location or a verifiable offer of better employment. The court will then have to weigh the expected benefits to the family with the potential disruption to the child.
If the child has a close and involved relationship with the non-custodial parent, the court is less likely to disrupt this relationship. Likewise, if the move would make it difficult or impossible to continue visitation, the court may deny the request. On the other hand, if the non-custodial parent has not taken advantage of scheduled visitation or if the relationship is a strained one, the court may decide to allow the move.
The court will also consider the advantages to the child, such as better education or facilities that could better accommodate the child’s special needs or medical condition.
If the move is allowed, the court will restructure visitation to maintain the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent and may reduce child support or impose travel expenses on the custodial parent.