When most couples divorce, they're usually still living fairly close to one another. If they have children, they can generally work out a shared custody arrangement where the kids can regularly spend time with both parents, even if one parent has primary physical custody.
However, life brings changes. Sometimes one parent is required to move to another state by his or her employer or to pursue a better career opportunity. Sometimes, one parent wants or needs to move away to be closer to family or live in a more affordable area.
The changes in custody and visitation necessitated by a long-distance move are among the most important considerations. If the parent who's not moving is agreeable to the change, it will make amending the custody and visitation agreement and parenting plan considerably easier. However, that's not always the case. Your agreement may even forbid one parent from taking the children out of the state or more than a specific distance away.
If you have primary custody of your children and you are contemplating an out-of-state move, it's essential to talk to your co-parent. First, explain why the move is good for your children. Perhaps you'll be making more money, get to live in a more family-friendly area or be closer to your child's grandparents and other relatives.
Be ready to work with your co-parent on scheduling options so that he or she can continue to see the children. This could include having the children spend school vacations, summers and even long weekends with the other parent. You'll also need to work out the logistics of the travel and payment for it.
If you're the noncustodial parent and considering a move, you'll need to explain to your co-parent why it's necessary or at least important enough to move away from the kids. While you're probably less likely to need a court's permission for the move, it's still best if your co-parent is agreeable to it. He or she may have counted on you for parental responsibilities that you won't be able to continue. Again, you'll need to work out a new visitation schedule and travel logistics.
Your relationship with your co-parent will determine how much you two can work out before you get your lawyers and courts involved. However, if one of you becomes a long-distant parent, it's essential to revise your custody and visitation agreement and parenting plan.
Source: CustodyXChange, "Out of State Custody & Visitation: What to Consider? 6 Schedule Ideas," accessed March 28, 2018