Moving Out of State with Your Child When You Have a Custody Agreement in North Carolina

Child custody matters can be emotionally challenging, and when a situation arises where you want to relocate with your children to a different state than their other parent lives in, it becomes even more complex. 

Moving Out of State with Your Child When You Have a Custody Agreement in North Carolina

North Carolina has specific laws and guidelines that govern child custody relocations of which you must be aware. 

Understanding Custody Arrangements

Before delving into relocation, it’s essential to understand your current custody arrangement. Physical Custody (including visitation) involves the care and supervision of the child.  Legal custody involves the right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child.

North Carolina Courts apply the “Best Interest Test” when making custody determinations.  There is no presumption in favor of either parent, regardless of gender.  There is also not a presumption that “joint” or shared custody is best.

If there is already a custody order in place and a parent wants to relocate with their child, they typically must ask the Court for permission to relocate.  The Court will conduct a hearing to determine if the potential pros of the move would outweigh any potential cons.

Factors for Relocation Approval

Relocating with your children to a different state can be challenging, as it can disrupt the other parent’s visitation rights and the child’s relationship with them. 

In North Carolina, the court will assess various factors when considering a relocation request.  These factors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Best Interests of the Child: This remains the paramount consideration. The court will evaluate whether the move benefits the child in terms of better opportunities, schooling, or living conditions.
  • Motivation for Relocation: The custodial parent must have a valid reason for moving, such as a job offer, educational opportunity, or family support.
  • Communication Plan: A well-structured communication plan must be implemented to ensure the non-custodial parent’s continued involvement in the child’s life.
  • Modification of Custody Arrangement: You may need to propose revisions to the existing custody arrangement to accommodate the relocation, such as changes in visitation schedules or transportation plans.
  • Child’s Age and Preference: The court may consider the child’s age and maturity to assess their wishes regarding the move.
  • Safety and Well-being: The court will ensure that the child’s safety and well-being are maintained in the new location.

For further information on relocation factors, we suggest you review the following cases:

The Relocation Legal Process

Suppose you are considering relocating out of state with your child. In that case, you must follow the proper legal process in North Carolina. This includes:

  • Notice to the Other Parent: You should provide the other custodial parent with a written notice of your intent to move as soon as possible before the proposed relocation.
  • Mediation: If the other custodial parent disagrees with the move, you may be required to participate in mediation to attempt to reach an agreement.
  • Court Petition: If mediation fails, you can file a motion with the family court to seek permission for the relocation. The court will then hold a hearing to evaluate the factors mentioned earlier.

SeiferFlatow can guide you through the relocation process.

Relocating your children to a different state than their non-custodial parent is a complex matter that requires careful consideration and adherence to North Carolina’s family law regulations. The experienced family law attorneys at SeiferFlatow can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process. We will ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities and work diligently to build a strong case in your favor, ensuring that your child’s best interests are at the forefront. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us assist you in your child custody relocation journey.