Divorce complicates your life in a number of different ways, including sharing custody with your ex. The courts find that it is best for children to spend time with both parents, so they typically split custody. Even if this isn’t even, it gives both parents a chance to see the children. For instance, they may live with one parent all week and the other on the weekends.
Your custody arrangement lays all of this out, and you’re legally required to follow it. You cannot simply refuse to drop the kids off at your ex’s because you don’t want to. When it is their turn on the schedule, you must respect that or you’ve broken the legal order and could face ramifications.
This can limit your moving options
But what if you want to move? Say you don’t want to live in the same town as your ex any longer. Are you stuck there because you have to honor their custody rights?
It really depends. Those rights are important, and you cannot simply up and move for any reason at all. You may need to get the court to approve that move and adjust the custody order. This is especially true for longer moves that may make it impossible for you to follow the custody schedule.
That said, the court often does allow the move as long as you have a good faith reason to move and they think it will help you and your children. Examples include:
- Moving to go back to school, enroll in college or increase your level of education.
- Moving so that you live by other family members — like your parents — who can help with the kids.
- Moving because you need an area with a different standard of living, one that is affordable after the divorce.
- Moving to take a better job that you have been offered.
Even if you have one of these reasons, though, don’t assume that means you’re allowed to move whenever you want. You still may need to get it approved so that you don’t violate the order. Be sure you’re aware of the legal steps you can take.