Most of us will have multiple jobs during our work career. The days of starting, working for and retiring with a company are mostly past. For divorced parents or those who have children born outside of marriage, a move for a job, new relationship, or the myriad of reasons, the move is more complicated because of Indiana’s custody relocation status. This requires these parents to provide advance notice of relocation or face legal consequences from payment of legal fees to loss of custody. This blog addresses four little-known details or considerations relevant to custody relocation you must know.
First, both custodial and non-custodial parents must provide notice by a legal filing served on the other parent providing notice he or she is relocating. Under a prior widely accepted rule, the “Marion County” rule only custodial parents seeking to relocate more than 100 miles had to provide any notice. Now by statue relocating parents must provide notice of relocation even if the move is across the street or nearby. Failure to do so can have significant legal consequences.
Second, the requirement to provide notice of relocation in accordance with statute applies to custodial and non-custodial parents. Yes, even the non-custodial parent who intends to move must provide notice before he or she moves, or it may negatively impact his or her parenting time. Thus, the take away is with literally any move of any distance—even in the same neighborhood—custodial and non-custodial parents must file a notice with the court.
Third, a relocating parent must provide ninety (90) days’ notice before he or she intends to relocate to allow the non-relocating parenting to object and seek a hearing. While there are statutory exceptions to this much notice being required, failure to do so can place you in a weak position in court if the non-relocating objects. Thus, where relocation is occurring, the relocating parent is best-served by a proper filing and careful draftsmanship if the relocation will occur in less than ninety (90) days or maximize the potential for a costly legal battle.
Fourth, a custodial parent who relocates without providing notice or proper notice may be subject to contempt and return order forcing the child to remain or return to their home or be placed in the presence of the non-custodial parent until the matter is heard to preserve the status quo. While a court cannot prevent any parent from moving because every adult has a constitutional right to move between states, he or she can have significant legal consequences for moving without proper notice, including loss of custody.
In today’s mobile and ever-changing society, a parent (divorce or paternity) who seeks to relocate without legal jeopardy, is well-served by having this handled by counsel to maintain or enhance his or her contact with the children. Equally, a non-custodial parent who faces a relocation or is given notice with relocation has certain risks and opportunities at obtaining custody with the right legal theory and litigation strategy. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates handle relocation cases from all sides throughout the state. We hope this blog post helps you consider the unknown and unique consequences on legal opportunities created by relocation. This blog is written for general informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.