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How Far Can a Parent Move with Joint Custody & Other Relocation Concerns

Child custody matters are often easiest when both parents live in the same city or at least nearby to share the responsibilities of raising a child. However, it occasionally becomes necessary for one parent to move away because of work, other family obligations, housing costs, or for other reasons.

This article will address the question of how far can a parent move with joint custody and additional joint custody relocation considerations to keep in mind.

The Rules for Moving Out of State with a Child

The rules for joint custody when one parent moves out of state vary significantly from one state to the next, which is why it’s important to consult an experienced child custody attorney who is familiar with the various state laws. In New York, there is not a set number of miles that a parent with joint custody can move away because every situation is unique.

Initially, most child custody orders will specify that parents must remain in a limited geographic area, such as within the borough of Brooklyn or in Greater New York City. To make a decision about longer distances, the court will assess the reasons for the proposed relocation, the relationship between the child and both parents, the impact of the relocation upon the child’s future, and how lifestyles would change after such a move.

Possible Relocation Requirements

Some states have requirements that express consent from the other parent is needed before a child is relocated and that proper notice is given. Distance-based determinations and a good faith burden of proof may be additional requirements, depending on the location and your specific situation.

New York law does not allow one parent to simply move a child to another state if the other parent objects to the move and without the court’s permission. A judge may decide that a child can spend summers with one parent and the rest of the year with the other parent after a distant move or require more frequent communication via phone, text, or video chat. However, both parents will still retain the same decision-making authority for the child regardless of physical location.

How Does Moving Out of State Affect Child Support?

An out-of-state move may require an adjustment in the child custody agreement to reflect the changes, or at least the parents must work out who will pay for the additional travel costs. Another thing to consider is how moving may affect a child support arrangement because different states have different child support laws, and child support orders are typically established on the basis that both parents live in the same state.

The original child support order can still be in place after an out-of-state move to ensure that the child continues to receive the support he or she needs. If a parent fails to pay child support, his or her wages can still be garnished from out of state because employers cannot deny wage garnishment regardless of what state the parent is in. Parents can also still be prosecuted for failing to pay child support that has been ordered in a different state because criminal nonsupport charges are both state and federal crimes that can result in jail time and other penalties.

Get Help with Your Joint Custody Relocation Matter

Alatsas Law Firm specializes in complex child custody cases, such as ones that involve out-of-state moves. To learn more about the process and how we can help, please start an online chat with us on our website or call us at 718-233-2903 for a free consultation.