Can you move with your child after a divorce?

Can you move with your child after a divorce?

Freedom of movement often feels like a fundamental right in the United States. If you want to leave the city, the state or even the country, you can. Maybe you already live hundreds of miles from your hometown. Even if you haven’t moved at all in the last decade, the fact that you can has never been lost on you.

But now you’re a divorced parent who shares custody with his or her ex. Does that change your rights at all? Can you still move?

Reasons to move

The first two things to consider here are your children’s best interests and your ex’s parental rights. Remember, the courts always put the children first and make their decisions with the kids in mind. Additionally, they have to respect your ex’s rights, along with your own.

For instance, say your ex gets to see the children every other week. If you take the children and move to another state, that makes it impossible for your ex to see the kids. This can infringe on their rights and may impact the children’s best interests since the court already decided it was in their best interests to spend time with your ex.

How can you get around this? You may have to ask the court for permission to move, citing solid reasons like:

  1. Getting a higher level of education
  2. Taking a new job that you have been offered
  3. Seeking lower living costs to improve your quality of life
  4. Moving near grandparents


What the court is trying to avoid is allowing you to move just because you want to take the kids from your ex. If they think you have a valid reason to do so, that will help you and the children, they may allow you to move. But you may need to go to court to ask first, so this is still not the same as the freedom you used to have.

Steps to take

It is critical to take the proper legal steps. Never assume you can move if you want. There could be serious ramifications.