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Planning a move? What you need to know

Many people contemplate big life changes as the new year approaches, and one of these may be a major relocation. However, if you are a custodial parent of a child with a court order in place for custody or visitation, you may need to get an OK from the family courts before you can move.

Unless your standing court order specifies otherwise, you will need to get the court's permissions or come to an agreement that is in writing with your ex if you are planning on moving more than 50 miles away from your current location. While going through the courts may seem like a big inconvenience and can definitely stall your plans to move, these statutes are in place to protect the best interests of the child.

The courts assume that a child is best served by having frequent access to both parents. Moving a long distance can make it significantly harder both financially and schedule-wise for the noncustodial parent to exercise visitation. However, sometimes these moves are not out of choice, such as in the case where an employer tells you that you must relocate or lose your job.

In these situations, it's important to contact a family law attorney as soon as possible to get the documents ready to filed with the courts so you can get everything settled quickly. The courts are usually more understanding in these types of situations, but if the new visitation or custody agreement puts an undue burden on the other parent or if your ex challenges the move, it could take quite a while to sort out.

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