Now more than ever, you may be considering a move with the children due to the pandemic. Your reasons for wanting to move may fall in one of the following categories:

  • You may want to move because job opportunities are scarce where you currently live. Unemployment is much higher in some areas than others due to the virus.
  • Moving away may allow you and the children to be in a geographical area that is safer for you and your children. After all, some regions within our country have far fewer reported cases of the coronavirus.
  • The school closures may have put you in a jam concerning daycare and homeschooling.
  • The area where you want to move to is closer to family members who can help you care for the children while you work.

The above reasons are all legitimate. Nevertheless, before placing the children into your SUV and driving far away to your new home, understand that you have the absolute responsibility to provide the other parent with notice of your intent to move. You also must allow the other parent to be heard in court. In other words, if the other parent objects to the move, you must obtain the court's permission.

"But don't I have the right to move with the kids since I'm the parent with sole custody?" you may ask. Not quite. Without a doubt, parents with sole physical custody have the presumptive right to move away with their children. However, having a presumptive right does not mean it can be done without first obtaining the court's permission.

When a parent ignores the law and is caught attempting to move away without giving the other parent proper notice, even during the current crisis, there can be severe consequences. For example, the court may immediately change custody to the other parent. Also, the parent who attempted to move away without getting the court's permission may be placed on monitored visitation. In such circumstances, where primary custody changes to the other parent, the modified order may become permanent.

In summary, if you want to move away with the kids, be sure to ask the other parent to sign a Stipulation and Order, allowing you to do so. In the alternative file your motion asking for the court's permission.