Child custody can be a complex and sometimes contentious matter. And in today’s mobile society where remote working is increasingly available to many, it is not unusual for divorced parents of minor children to reside in different states. When establishing, or resolving disputes concerning interstate child custody, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA, governs most cases. Under the UCCJEA, a child custody order originating in one state is considered valid and enforceable in nearly all other states.
But what happens when a child custody order is in effect and one parent must relocate as a work requirement – whether it be an out-of-state child custody relocation or an in-state move? Simply put, a new court order detailing revised custody and visitation rights is necessary, and these changes begin with the requirement for the relocating parent to file a timely notice to the court; and in the process, inform the other parent.
Child Custody Relocation Forms
A court cannot normally prevent any parent from moving to another state, but there can be significant legal consequences for moving without proper notice, up to and including loss of custody despite a prior court order. What must a parent – custodial or non-custodial – do regarding visitation rights and/or child custody when moving out of state?
Child custody relocation laws in Indiana require the relocating parent – even if that parent is considered non-custodial – to provide notice by a legal filing served on the other parent. This filing must be made at least ninety (90) days before the move takes place.
In addition to the planned moving date, the notice must contain:
- The residential and mailing addresses of the new location
- The residence’s home telephone number along with any other applicable phone numbers that can be used to reach the relocating individual
- A statement spelling out reasons for the proposed move
- A revised visitation schedule proposal
- And finally, a statement asserting that the non-relocating parent may, in response, file a petition to modify the current custody, visitation (including grandparent visitation), and applicable child support orders
While such a court filing might be expected as proper procedure for an out-of-state move, child custody relocation laws in Indiana dictate that this filing is also required for in-state moves – even if the move is within the same neighborhood! Again, a notice of the planned move is required whenever either parent plans a move – even the non-custodial parent is required to file a notice of relocation.
Non-Custodial Parent’s Rights
After the notice to relocate has been filed, the non-relocating parent has up to sixty (60) days to file a written objection with the court. Common reasons argued against the relocation might include:
- Legitimate suspicions that the relocating parent will not encourage, maintain, nor facilitate the long-distance relationship between the other parent and the child
- Fear that a potentially negative impact from reduced parenting time could damage the parent’s relationship with the minor child
- The loss of existing strong connections between the child and the community
- The objections of a teenage minor child who does not want to relocate
What’s more, a parent who relocates without providing proper notice via the court filing could be subject to contempt; this could result in the relocating parent losing custody or visitation rights. Thus, a non-custodial parent could be granted custody of the minor child. In all cases, however, it is the charge of the court to decide issues of child custody relocation in the best interests of the child.
Child custody can be complicated. Child custody when moving out of state – for work relocations or any other reason – can become even more complex. Here are some critical considerations regarding child custody relocation matters:
- Judges decide child custody cases, including those involving relocation, in the best interests of the minor child
- “Interstate custody” exists when divorced parents reside in different U.S. states
- When custody is disputed and an interstate challenge exists, rules governing custodial jurisdiction are set forth in the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA
- Any planned relocation affecting a minor child of divorce must be filed with the court at least 90 days prior to the planned moving date
- The relocating parent – whether custodial OR non-custodial – must provide such notice even if the planned move is local
- The non-relocating parent has up to 60 days to file a written objection and challenge any changes in custodial or visitation arrangements that would be made necessary by the planned move
- Due to the complexities of child custody relocation laws in Indiana, it is essential to engage the services of experienced child custody lawyers such as the attorneys of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C.
At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., our attorneys leverage decades of collective experience when handling divorce cases, including cases involving child custody relocation. To learn more, contact us today at (317) 972-8000.
We believe that being an educated legal consumer can help you make the most of the legal experience in meeting your legal objectives. This blog post, for example, provides general educational material regarding child custody relocation and child custody when moving out of state. This information is presented by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who practice throughout the State of Indiana. It is not a solicitation, nor is it intended to provide specific legal advice. It is an advertisement. Information contained herein is subject to change.