In-state relocation?


#1

In the absence of a custody agreement or consent order, what specifically are the rules/guidelines/laws that govern in-state relocation for the custodial parent, especially when said relocation would require a change in school?

If the relocation was in fact within these rules/guidelines/laws, could the move strengthen a custody claim for the non-custodial parent?

As the custodial parent since the separation 3 years ago, I am attempting to move 30 miles north of where we currently live which would make them about 45 minutes away from their father, whereas now we are about 20-25 minutes apart. I have offered that we could take turns with transportation and/or meet half way, etc.

Their father is not happy at all about this move as it puts me much closer to my boyfriend/fiance (and former paramour). My fear is that he will attempt to take them away from me when the move is complete.

What actions should I take and not take to ensure he does not get full custody happen.


#2

He cannot file for emergency custody since this is an in-state relocation, not out-of-state. However, he can file for custody since there is no custody agreement or order in place. You also are running a risk that he could choose to keep the children from you. Since there’s no custody order, either parent can exercise exclusive custody of the children, forcing the other parent to go to court for custody if they want them back. I would suggest trying to work out a custody consent order with your ex as soon as possible, outlining your custody and his visitation schedule. You will need a judge to sign off on it when you are done, but it could save you some headaches down the road.


#3

Yep, definitely at risk of him coming and taking the children and then one of us would need to file for custody. It sounds like from your answer on my other post though, that he would have the burden of proof in a custody case since I’ve been the custodial parent for 3 years. Until said custody was settled though, it would be messy for us and the kids and it doesn’t sound fun! Definitely easier to get an agreement in place.

Meanwhile though, am I “safe” to move us across town to an adjacent county that would be about 20 minutes longer than the current transit time (planning to move from South Mecklenburg County to South Cabarrus County, if that helps). What do the statutes state around local, in-state relocation?

From what I have gathered online, a NC/Meck county judge wouldn’t see a move like this as being bad for the children since it wouldn’t interfere or prevent them from seeing their father according to the status quo schedule we’ve been operating under. This is especially true if I am offering to help with the burden of transportation to alleviate the additional travel time. The Cabarrus schools are better per the state test scores and have smaller class sizes, and I would be able to move them from a small apartment to a house within a nice neighborhood due to the lower housing costs. He will say that I’m taking them from their current schools and changing their lives just so I can be closer to my boyfriend, however that is not the whole story. We plan to be married soon, which I would think is another thing in my favor since they would be in a more stable home with a full time male role model for my son. In addition, I work from home and have very flexible hours which affords me the ability to attend events, and to be involved in their activities.

Are the above assumptions correct or is there something I’m not aware of that would make my move risky (aside from making him mad enough to start a custody battle, which like you mentioned could happen anytime he gets mad over anything, to which I’m likely to be awarded as the custodial parent anyway).


#4

Not to stick my nose in your business but my ex did file for an ex parte and got full custody of my two girls based on my move and change of school. He is a police officer. I did the same thing you are about to and I see my girls now 1st 2nd and 4th weekend of every mth. I dont drink smoke do drugs or have a criminal record. I am a stay at home mom of two other children. So be careful. The laws are only guidelines they are not what happens in every case.


#5

Jfrancis is correct. I can only offer general advice about the law, I cannot guarantee nor predict any particular outcome for any case. You are helped by the fact that the move is in-state and not very far from where you currently reside, but he still can argue that the move is not in their best interest. I would recommend a consent order being done prior to moving just to ensure your custodial arrangement.