After your divorce in Virginia, you may decide at a later date to move out of the state for a better job, marriage, or other reasons. However, if you and your ex-spouse have minor children, you are subject to a custody order. While you do not need the court’s permission for your own relocation, you will need the court’s approval to move your children.
What You Must Do Before Moving With Children in Virginia
When a custody order exists, you are required to give the court and the non-custodial parent written notice of your intent to move. You must do so at least 30 days before your planned relocation. The other parent can either consent to the move or object to it. If he files objections, the court will decide whether to grant permission for your move. In doing so, the judge would focus on the best interests of your children. Some of these factors include:
- Child’s age and physical and mental condition
- Parents’ age and physical and mental condition
- Child’s relationship with each parent
- Each child’s needs and relationship with siblings, peers, and extended family
- Each parent’s role in the care and upbringing of the children, both currently and in the future
- Each parent’s support and encouragement of the children’s relationship with the other parent
- Child’s preference if the court believes that he is mature enough to express one
If a request to move is granted, the court may modify a visitation order to accommodate the long distance between the non-custodial parent and your children. For example, a parent could be awarded visitation during the majority of the time that the children are out of school to compensate for the fact that he cannot see them on weekends. In addition, the judge could make a ruling on who pays for the cost of the children’s travel for visitation.
A better option than letting the court decide whether you can move your children out of Virginia may be to work out an agreement with your former spouse that allows you to move and modifies the visitation schedule. Your agreement should be in writing and should be approved by the court. Whether this is an option will depend on your relationship with the other parent.
Do you need to move with your children to another state? Our experienced family law attorneys are here to explain your options and how we can help. Call our office in Norfolk today to schedule your free initial consultation.