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Relocation After Divorce in North Carolina

After divorce, it is not uncommon for the custodial parent to move to another town, city, or state to start a new life with his/her child. However, the moving parent cannot relocate with the child unless the other parent approves and/or the child custody and visitation order is modified to reflect the move, especially if the current order contains travel restrictions. 

In general, the parent with physical custody of a child is considered the parent who is best capable of meeting the child’s daily needs, which may include determining where the child will live. Therefore, the court assumes that if a custodial parent wishes to relocate with the child, then the parent is acting in the child’s best interests. 

If a noncustodial parent rejects the proposed move or wishes to modify a current custody order, he/she must prove that relocation is (1) a substantial change of circumstances and (2) harmful to the child. On the other hand, the custodial parent may prove his/her case by presenting evidence to show relocation will benefit the child and outweigh costs of the move. 

A judge will consider the following factors when deciding a relocation case in North Carolina: 

  • The benefits of relocation, such as a better job opportunity for the custodial parent to provide more for his/her child, more family in the area to take care of the child, better educational opportunities for the child, etc. 

  • The motives and reasons for relocating 

  • If relocation is done in good faith, rather than simply to take adverse action against the noncustodial parent 

  • How the move will interfere with the other parent’s visitation schedule 

  • How a modified visitation schedule can still preserve the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child 

  • The ability of each parent to adhere to the modified custody and visitation order 

Most importantly, a judge will determine if the proposed move serves the best interests of the child. So, if the custodial parent can prove the child will greatly benefit from the proposed move and the noncustodial parent can still maintain a relationship with his/her child, then the court will likely approve the move and modify the visitation order. 

In contrast, if the noncustodial parent has a close and loving relationship, has a steady job and stable housing, would experience difficulties with the proposed visitation schedule, and the child had no extended family members in the new location, then the court may rule that the move is not in the child’s best interests. In such cases, the noncustodial may modify a custody order to become the child’s custodial parent. 

If you are interested in modifying a court order in Charlotte, contact Krusch Law, PLLC today at (704) 343-8811 and request a consultation. Get award-winning and experienced legal services immediately!