North Carolina child custody and relocation

A custodial parent is generally not permitted to simply leave with any children in their custody, regardless of the reason. In divorce cases where children are involved, there is typically a clause that specifies that a custodial parent may not relocate outside of a given radius or area, must give a certain amount of notice prior to the move and afford the non-custodial parent the right to file a formal objection to or approve the move.

Depending upon the type of child custody arrangements in place, a parent may not move beyond a certain radius or outside state lines without demonstrating a “good faith” reason for the appropriateness of the move and its advantages to the child. Some examples include being hired for a better-paying position, having access to family to assist with childcare obligations or better schools. The non-custodial parent may object and disallow the move.

Depending upon the circumstances, the court may revisit the case and revise the child custody or visitation agreements to make them as scrupulously fair as possible. In some cases, the court may award physical custody to the previously non-custodial parent to help maintain stability in the child’s life. In others, the court may require expanded visitation and communication rights between the parent and child, with either the moving parent or both parents responsible for travel costs.

When examining a child custody modification, an attorney might start by considering how the spouses have interacted through the divorce and after, both with each other and with the child. The attorney may analyze the reasons for the move and whether those reasons, taken as a whole, rise to the level of the child’s best interests. Finally, the attorney might petition the court to allow or decline the move.

Source: FindLaw, “Child Custody Relocation Laws,” Accessed March 12, 2015

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