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Custody for a Father Who is Relocating

What Happens to a Father's Custody Rights When He Relocates to a New State?


Question: As a father with custody of my child, should I worry that relocating will cause me to lose custody?

The short answer to this question is no. However, a father who is relocating or considering relocation should be prepared for how that decision may impact the child custody arrangement.

Know Your Rights Before You Relocate

Any parent may choose to relocate for a new job, a new relationship or a change in environment. However, you should be aware that your relocation must be approved by court of law before you move. In considering whether to approve the relocation of a father with custody, a court will ask the following questions:

  • Will the move serve the best interests of the child?
  • How will custody be structured after the move?
  • Will the move financially improve the quality of the father's life?
  • Whether the child's mother opposes the move?

Know the Circumstances in Which a Father May Be Denied Custody

In general, fathers may be denied custody of a child for the following reasons:

  • Custody doesn't serve the best interests of the child

  • Child would be in danger if visitation rights were exercised

  • Domestic violence of a sibling or a parent

Sharing Child Custody From a Distance

If a father is relocating a long distance from his child, joint custody may become difficult or impractical. However, there are alternative forms of custody and visitation. Fathers should consider some of the following options:

  • Virtual visitation
  • Summer visits
  • Visitation during school holidays

A father who needs a modification of the custody arrangement or visitation schedule should consider creating a parenting plan that reflect the child custody modification. This plan would need to then be filed with the courts.

For more information about how a court views a father's custody rights when he relocates, you should speak with a qualified attorney in your state or refer to your state's specific child custody guidelines.

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