Relocation and Divorce – Understanding How to Navigate It

Even the custodial parent with sole legal and physical custody of a minor child cannot simply move the child out of state without a pre-existing court order permitting the relocation.

How Can You Relocate with Your Child after a Divorce?

If you wish to move with your child to another state, it is imperative that you either reach an agreement with the noncustodial parent or obtain a court order approving the location. Attempting to move out of North Carolina without consent of the other parent or the court can cause you major legal issues and cause damage in any later child custody proceeding.

Is Permission Required for Every Move?

As a general rule, permission is usually not required to relocate within the state of North Carolina. To ensure that you can make a move you want to make, you want to ensure that the court order includes the place you want to move. The court order should consist of specific terms for how far you can travel or relocate with your child without asking court authority to do so. If there aren’t any specifics, you should assume that you will need consent from the noncustodial parent or the court. Working with a family law attorney can ensure that this is handled efficiently and painlessly.

If the NCP Agrees to the Move, Is That Sufficient?

If a noncustodial parent agrees to the relocation, the relocating parent should take that agreement to the court and obtain court approval through an amendment to the custody order for it. If there is no pre-existing custody order, it is prudent to get the court to approve the relocation agreement and enter an order.

What if the NCP Disagrees?

If the noncustodial parent disagrees with the relocation, you will have to go back to court to seek approval for the relocation. You will need to file a motion to modify custody. Once again, the court’s decision will be based upon whether it is in the child’s best interest. To decide this, the court will look at:

  • Your reasons for the relocation
  • How the relocation may improve the child’s life
  • The likelihood that a custody and visitation schedule can be arranged to preserve the relationship with the NCP
  • Your ability and intent to comply with the order once the child is moved out of state
  • The reasons for the NCP’s disagreement

Call Us Today to Speak with a Family Law Lawyer in North Carolina

If you have questions about relocating your child, you should contact an experienced family law attorney. To schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable child custody attorney, call Remington & Dixon today at 704-247-7110.


Child Relocation FAQs

How can the NCP oppose the relocation?

The noncustodial parent must give the court his or her reasons for opposing the relocation and make clear that those reasons are not in the child’s best interests.

Who Pays for the Expenses Caused by the Relocation?

The increased expenses arising out of the relocation, such as travel expenses, should be documented in the custody order.

How Far Is Too Far to Move Without a Court Order?

If there is no court order in place, a parent may relocate anywhere they wish as long as they have the consent of the other parent. However, if the custodial parent plans to move out of state or far enough away that it will affect the noncustodial parent’s access to the child, it is important that they obtain written agreement from the other parent or a court order allowing the relocation.


Are consultations free?

While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

Where can I get legal advice?

We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

Can I hire you if I’m in another state?

This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



"*" indicates required fields

With a Consultation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.