After a divorce, your life changes. Within a few years, you may want to take a new job out of state, or you may want to remarry someone who doesn’t live in North Carolina and relocate. But can you just move out of state if you and your ex have a child?

If you are sharing custody with your spouse, you will need a child custody modification. Also, even if you are the sole custodial parent, you may need to seek permission to move from the court that approved your custody order.

How will the move impact your child?

When you seek a child custody modification or permission to move, the court will consider the impact of a move on your child. The court will want to know the following:

  • What is your motivation to move?
  • Does the move make your ex’s current visitation schedule impractical or impossible?
  • Have you and your ex agreed on a way to rework your child’s visitation schedule?
  • How much will your child’s friendships, schooling, sport activities or ties to other family members be impacted by the move?

When will a judge OK a custody modification for a move?

You are more likely to have your custody modification granted if you can show a judge that you and your spouse have agreed to a new visitation schedule. You also may need to show how the move will benefit your child or their quality of life. The following are good examples of when that may occur:

  • Your new out-of-state job comes with a significant increase in income.
  • Your relocation offers better educational opportunities for your child.
  • You are moving closer to your family, who can help provide extra care for your child.
  • You are remarrying, bringing more stability to your child.

Never move out of state with your child without consulting a family law attorney and seeking a custody modification. You don’t want to jeopardize your ability to keep custody of your child, nor create a custody battle when you could have avoided that.