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We move for many reasons during our lives:  new jobs, new marriages, better schools, to be closer to aging parents.  When one parent from a divorced family where children are involved wants to move, there will likely be a need to revisit the custody/visitation arrangement.  Moves that affect where the children attend school, that affect the distance and travel time between parents, that affect the ability for one parent to see the children and be part of their lives are challenging.  In Virginia, if there is a court order for custody, the law requires a 30 day written notice of a parent’s intent to move.  If the parents cannot determine a new custody/visitation arrangement (which needs to be incorporated into a court order), then the Courts will make a determination.  Determinations are based on the children’s best interests which may or may not be the same as the moving parent’s best interests.  The impact on the parental relationships that result from a move are closely examined. Whether the move is necessary or just desired is scrutinized.  What the children’s lives may look like after a move and how they will spend time with the non-moving parent will be considered.  There is not any one answer to the question of whether a parent will be allowed to move a child out of state; it depends.  The cases about relocation are varied and the decisions are fact specific.  It is important if you are considering a move in the future that you start talking to a family law attorney in advance.

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