Can I move out of my state with my teenage children?

I want to move. My kids are 13 and 15. How does this work? Can my ex stop me from moving? I told the kids they can decide where to live.

Asked on December 12, 2011 under Family Law, Maine


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding the possibility of moving out-of-state with your two teenage children.  Your dilemma is not an uncommon one, as many people do not want to live in the same state forever and feel as though they are compelled to stay in the same state because the children’s other parent lives in the state.  Child custody arrangements and related laws will depend on the state in which you reside.  These laws can vary from state to state.  Often this issue is addressed within the court ordered child custody arrangement.  However, child custody arrangements can be modified.  If a parent has a change in circumstance, they can petition the court for a modification.  The court may or may not permit the modification.  If the court does not permit the modification and the parent violates the child custody arrangement, the parent could be held in contempt.

Many states will address the issue of out-of-state travel and relocation within the child custody arrangement.  Usually, the non-custodial parent (the parent that does not have physical custody of the children for the majority of the time) will at least have to give permission in order for the other parent to travel and/or relocate with the children out-of-state. This is usually required because if the children move out-of-state it is likely that there will be a strain placed on the relationship between the children and the non-custodial parent.

Even though the children are teenagers, the court may not completely base the decision as to custody on what the children want.  The court needs to look past the children’s current wants, and look out for the children’s best interests.

If you should need further assistance, you should contact a family law attorney in your area.


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