Can I get in trouble if I leave the state with our son?


#1

I am not from NC- my spouse is. All of my family is in Florida and I’d like to leave NC to go to Florida while we go through the divorce process. I am gainfully employed and I can support myself and our son. My employer has given me permission to work from home in FL, so can I leave without any legal consequences?


#2

Not an attorney

No you cannot…

While the situations are varied and complex, and often will require a hearing to determine a final outcome, in general, you cannot leave the state with your child without your ex’s consent in writing.

If your ex doesn’t agree, then you will have to prove to the court that it is beneficial for the child (NOT YOU) that you move out of state. Whether that’s due to a much improved financial condition, or due to removing your child from harmful influences of your ex, or other circumstances, will be up to the court to review. If you’re relocating because of YOUR family (even though by extension that’s your child’s family), I doubt the court would find that a suitable reason. Nor would transferring to the same job with your employer.

Also, you would likely be ordered (although not always practical) to shoulder the primary burden of making sure visitation between your ex and your child is not interrupted. That means, YOU would have to pay for expensive airfare trips for your son to see his dad regularly, or other suitable arrangements.

You see, it’s all about the child, not what’s best for you. And most times, it’s best for the child to be in close proximity to BOTH parents.


#3

Your ex can file for emergency custody and you would be forced to return the child to the state. Generally, judges in NC prefer the child have access to both parents. It can be very difficult to move.


#4

I would avoid moving without permission from your spouse or the court. There are ways to get around the filing of an emergency custody motion, but in the end, you would have to face a judge here that would question your motives and may hold your decision against you when putting a custody order in place.