While being single again may mean freedom to choose your destiny in many ways, having children means that some of your options are still limited.
For example, some newly divorced people would like to move closer to their families or take advantage of job opportunities in another state. But whether you can move out of Alabama with your children depends on the details of your divorce agreement and the reasons you want to leave.
Notification and consent
If a parent wishes to move out of state with a child, the first step is to provide proper notice to the other parent. The non-moving parent may then consent to the move or object to it. If the non-moving parent objects, the court will assess the situation and decide whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests.
Best interests of the child
Courts typically prioritize decisions that support a child’s physical, emotional and educational well-being. When parents want to relocate, they must demonstrate how the move will benefit the child. Important factors might include improved educational opportunities, a safer environment or proximity to extended family.
If one parent has sole physical custody, he or she may have more freedom to move with the children. However, if the custody arrangement is joint, both parents often need to agree on any out-of-state move. Sometimes, the court may intervene if the parents cannot reach an agreement.
Distance and communication
Courts may also consider the distance between the two locations and how it affects the child’s ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with the non-moving parent. Video calls can help mitigate the impact of having one parent in a remote location.
The parent seeking to move must demonstrate that his or her intentions are not to limit the other parent’s contact with the child or to disrupt the existing custody arrangement. Alabama is the second worst state for jobs, so moving for employment opportunities is usually a valid intention.
In some cases, the court may modify custody orders to accommodate a moving parent’s plans. This process may involve reevaluating visitation schedules and custody arrangements to ensure the child maintains a strong relationship with both parents.