Rules for relocating with kids after divorce
Maybe your extended family lives outside Ohio and you want to start over after divorce. Perhaps you have a visitation agreement, but the other parent wants to move out of state with your child.
Whatever your situation, review the Ohio state laws about relocation and shared child custody.
If a custodial parent relocates to an address other than the location listed on the custody agreement, he or she must officially notify the court that determined custody. The court will send a copy of the required Notice of Intent to Relocate form to the other parent in case he or she wants to contest the move.
The hearing process
If the noncustodial parent does not contest the move, the court may allow the requesting parent to relocate. Otherwise, both parents must attend a hearing at which the judge will determine whether the move is in the child’s most favorable interest. The court wants to ensure that the benefits of the move for the child outweigh the challenges of a lapse in stability.
To determine whether the move serves the child’s interests, the judge will consider:
- The reason for the move
- Each parent’s wishes
- The child’s wishes if he or she is old enough to express a preference
- The existing relationship between the child and extended family, including siblings
- The physical and mental health status of the child and both parents
Because the court may be reluctant to change a custody plan, you may want to seek at least 50% custody when you submit your initial parenting plan to the court. Ohio law recognizes joint physical custody as long as this arrangement supports the child’s physical health and emotional growth. The court will issue a shared parenting plan as long as one or both parents request custody. When only one parent seeks custody, he or she will have sole residential custody. However, the other parent may still ask the court for visitation.