Can I Relocate with My Children after My Divorce Is Final?

Life goes on after divorce and changes in your life may take you out of the city or state. You may be offered a higher-paying job in a different location, need to relocate to be near your family, or remarry a person who lives in another area. There are many valid reasons to relocate after a divorce, but the question is: Will you be allowed to take your children with you?

If the other parent objects to the move, whether you may relocate with your children is up to the discretion of the court. When your divorce became final, a child custody agreement or court order was in place outlining when and where your children are to be with the other parent. If your move affects that arrangement, you will need to seek a new court order permitting relocation of your children after divorce.

If you would like to move away with your children after a divorce, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Our Fredericksburg family lawyers at Kurylo Gold & Josey PLC have assisted many Virginia parents with child custody matters, including the issues associated with relocation of children after divorce. Our legal team is well-versed in Virginia family law, and dedicated to pursuing the best possible outcome for our clients.

Relocation of Children after Divorce in Virginia

There is no yes or no answer under Virginia law as to whether divorced parents may relocate with their children. If the other parent does not agree, the custodial parent who wants to move away with the children will need to convince the court that the move is in the best interests of the children.

Family court judges are not concerned with the best interests of the parents in a relocation hearing — their primary consideration is the best interests of the child. In making a determination, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • Reasons why the custodial parent wants to relocate: Valid reasons to move may include better employment opportunities, greater economic stability, and contact with extended family members.
  • Effect the move will have on the children’s relationship with the non-custodial parent: In evaluating this factor, the court will want to know about the existing relationship between the non-custodial parent and the children. If there is not much involvement to begin with, the other parent may have less chance of successfully blocking the move.
  • How the move will affect the other parent’s visitation: A move to a neighboring town an hour’s drive away is less likely to interfere with visitation than a coast-to-coast move or relocation hundreds of miles away. In making its decision, the court will consider the impact the relocation will affect the other parent’s visitation with the children.

If you are seeking a court order permitting relocation of your children after divorce, you will have the burden of proving that the relocation is in the best interests of the children. If you fail to prove this critical point, the court may not allow relocation, or could grant physical custody to the other parent.

Our family law attorneys at Kurylo Gold & Josey PLC have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assist you. Contact us to schedule a consultation so we can discuss all of the legal issues related to moving away with children, and a legal strategy to help you pursue your objectives for your new life ahead.

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Matt Kurylo

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