What are my child custody options if I want to move?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | Family Law |

Compared to other states, Virginia has relatively few laws about what parents involved in a divorce or other custody proceeding need to do if they wish to move.

Virginia law requires a parent to notify the court and the other parent of any change in address at least 30 days in advance. The court can excuse a person from sending notice for a good reason. Domestic abuse is one possible example of a good reason.

Beyond this notification requirement, Virginia courts have a lot of leeway when deciding relocation cases. As with any other case, they will make custody and parenting time decisions based on the best interests of the children involved.

For a parent who would like to move with their children, a good starting point would be to review their custody orders carefully.

Virginia courts should spell out certain requirements that parents must follow if they wish to move.

On a related point, in an initial custody decision, a parent may wish to try to get the court’s permission to move in advance if they foresee moving in the future. The court’s order may already grant a parent permission to move.

Otherwise, should the other parent challenge a move after receiving notice, the person wanting to move will need to demonstrate how the relocation is in the best interests of their children.

Of course, it may be advisable for the parents to work out a compromise to resolve any dispute.

Parents should also understand that even if the court changes its orders to allow a move, the court may also alter parenting time schedules and other provisions.

Northern Virginia parents who need to move should understand their options

Alexandria parents who need to relocate a significant distance are usually wanting to do so for serious reasons.

For example, the move may involve a job opportunity or helping another family member or even one of the parents’ children receive proper care and support. A Virginia court’s decision not to allow a parent to relocate with their child can seem disastrous in such situations.

A parent wanting to move will need to evaluate their legal options carefully and prepare their case.