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Moving with your child after divorce can be a challenge

Many people consider moving after getting divorced. They might be searching for a new place to start their new life after a divorce. However, the process of moving after a divorce is not so easy for parents when they share custody of their child.

Here is a look at the general process of relocating with a child post-divorce.

1. You must notify the court and the other parent

Virginia law requires parents to inform both the court and the other parent about the move 30 days in advance. This notice is usually a formal letter that includes:

  • The parent's statement of intent to move
  • The address of the proposed new location
  • The reason for the relocation

2. It is necessary to provide valid reasons for the move

Even though the parent provides the reason for their move in their notice to the court, Virginia family courts usually require evidence supporting that reason.

For example, it might be essential to provide:

  • A statement from a new employer, if the move is related to a new job
  • An inspection report, if the move is because of current housing conditions

It is also critical for the moving parent to provide evidence that the move is in the child's best interests. 

3. Remember, the court will put the child's best interests first

Proving that the move would be in the child's best interests is one of the most important aspects of this process. Since a relocation usually affects the custody agreement, visitation and the child's life, the court will only approve a relocation if they determine it is in the child's best interests.

So, they will consider many factors before approving the relocation, including:

  • Each parent's role in the child's life
  • The mental and physical conditions of each parent
  • The child's needs and relationships
  • The child's preference, depending on their age

4. The other parent might disagree with the relocation

It is common for the other parent to contest the move. Their challenge might not prevent the move, but it can prolong the process of relocating.

Tip: It is often helpful to discuss the plan to move with the other parent long before sending the notice of relocation. Then, the notice is only a formality. If the other parent knows the details about the move beforehand, they are less likely to protest the move. This can also help parents negotiate how they will approach the move and visitation in the future. 

Regardless of the circumstances, it is critical for parents to follow this process to avoid significant penalties or even legal charges. 

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