Custody Cases Involving Relocation
Relocation with Raleigh child custody cases is a difficult issue because both parents want to spend as much time as possible with their children, but circumstances can arise making a move out of the state or a significant distance away within the state that leaves one parent behind. It can be difficult to reach a compromise as their is usually no easy method to afford both parents a similar Raleigh custodial schedule due to the distance that will be between the parties. As a result, the matter often is determined by the court system, which can result in several months before the matter is finalized. As a result, it is very important to address a significant move by either party as soon as possible so that arrangements may be in place prior to the move. The consequences of not doing so can be violating a current Raleigh Custody Order in place, or moving out of state without a custody order in place can potentially subject to responding to a claim for emergency child custody based upon on party allegedly leaving the state of North Carolina to evade the state’s jurisdiction. It is important to consult with an experienced Raleigh family law attorney so that your relocation, or the other party’s relocation, can be addressed in a proactive manner.
The next consideration is what is the Raleigh Court going to consider when deciding whether or not to adjust your current custodial schedule? The following are factors the Court will consider when making its determination:
Ramirez-Barker v. Barker, 107 N.C. App. 71, 418 S.E.2d 676 (1992) (case involved moving out of state) sets out the following:
- The advantages of the relocation in terms of its capacity to improve the life of the child;
- The motives of the custodial parent in seeking the move;
- The likelihood that the custodial parent will comply with visitation orders when he or she is no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of North Carolina
- The integrity of the noncustodial parent in resisting the relocation
- The likelihood that a realistic visitation schedule can be arranged which will preserve and foster the parental relationship with the noncustodial parent.
“Although most relocations will present both advantages and disadvantages for the child, when the disadvantages are outweighed by the advantages, as determined and weighed by the trial court, the trial court is well within its discretion to permit the relocation.” A similar analysis would appear to apply when moving within the state, given that North Carolina is such a large state, except that the issue of evading jurisdiction would not apply.
While you cannot prevent another party from moving, as it is a constitutionally protected right, there are some safeguards you can seek in a custody agreement or order to provide for notice of such relocation that may affect your custodial schedule. One example would be including that the non-moving party was provided with 30 or 60 days notice of your move. I have seen some provisions also state that the minor child remain with the non-moving party until a determination regarding the new schedule resulting from the relocation has been determined or otherwise agreed upon. Related to this issue, if you have Raleigh child custody agreement or order in place, you must be sure that, as the relocating party, you comply with any terms that address relocation issues or you may be found in breach of the agreement or in contempt of the Child Custody Order in Raleigh depending on which type of legal document is at issue. Again, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure any changes to your custodial schedule that need to take place due to a relocation are properly addressed with regarding to compliance issues as well as planning for the relocation taking place in the future.
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