If my wife wants a divorce and wants to move back to another state with our 4 year old son, where do I stand on custody?

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If my wife wants a divorce and wants to move back to another state with our 4 year old son, where do I stand on custody?

She quit her job but I work full-time.

Asked on June 29, 2015 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the divorce has not yet been filed, you will need to go to court to request custody or visitation. Without a court order, she will be free to take�your son�out-of-state.�If she does and establishes residency there you will have�a difficult�of getting her to move back with your son.�If you go to court now before she moves�(or go after she moves but before she establishes residency in her new state) you have a greater chance of keeping your child close by. Once�you have a custody agreement, your wife will need to get the court's permission in order to move.�If she relocates�without such permission, she�will be�in contempt of a court and could be charged with parental kidnapping.

The burden in convincing the court to allow a permanent move�is on the party seeking�the move. The court will look at the best interests of the child in making�its decision.�Factors in determining if such a move will be allowed include,�but are not limited to: the reason for the move; the motivation of the parent opposing the move; the advantages/disadvantages of relocation on the life of the child, the likelihood that a reasonable visitation schedule can be arranged for the noncustodial parent, etc.

Note: A�parent who wishes to relocate because of a job, new spouse or to care for sick relatives will have a stronger case than a parent who wants to move just to get away from the non-custodial parent.��

At this point, you need to consult directly with an attorney who specializes in child custody (and divorce) cases. They can best advise you further.


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