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Can I move away with my child if I’m the custodial parent?

Having primary custody of your child comes with specific responsibilities and rights. For instance, your child’s other parent may be obligated to pay you child support on your child’s behalf, while you may be obligated to conform to the terms of an established visitation plan. Another stipulation that you may be required to follow is whether and how you are allowed to move out of state with your child after your child custody agreement has been approved.

The American Bar Association discusses major child custody and support topics, and explains that modifying already established arrangements can depend upon numerous factors and considerations. In the vast majority of cases, the custodial parent is not allowed to move his or her child out of state without the permission of the other parent. Family courts generally require that both parents are in agreement of the move. In the event that there is a dispute over relocating the child, the custodial parent should be able to illustrate that he or she has a good reason for wanting to move. In such cases, it is still not guaranteed that the court will approve the change.

You may wish to relocate to or out of Virginia for several reasons, including that you want to place your child in a better school or accept a job offer. No matter the reasons you provide, your request to the court may be denied if it is suspected that you are attempting to separate your child from his or her other parent. It’s also worth noting, though, that your child’s other parent may not be successful in contesting your move if he or she has not maintained an active relationship with your child.

While it can be challenging to alter arrangements in some cases, it is often possible to make child custody modifications. Consequently, the general information provided above should not be used as legal counsel.

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