Parental Relocation Attorney

Parental Relocation

Post-Divorce Relocation and Child Custody Issues

Is your former spouse or childrens’ other parent trying to move with the children out of the Richmond area? Are you having custody issues where it seems like your input doesn’t matter? If this describes your situation, you are not alone. Our team of custody lawyers have worked with many parents who need help making sure their rights are being represented.

One of the most complicated aspects of the aftermath of a divorce or any court ordered custody matter is the issue of parental relocation.

When the custody order or final decree of divorce addresses child custody, the order must change if one of the spouses moves out of Virginia or a significant distance away within the state.

This is especially true if the party wishing to move has primary custody of the child. The move will significantly affect the other spouse’s rights regarding access to the child.

Parent Must Have Order Providing Visitation and Custody

When a divorce occurs, the courts expect the parents to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children.

One of those main decisions is deciding where to live. If one parent decides to move out of the state with the children without getting permission from the court, the parent could be held in contempt of court.

Once the custody order has been established, the parent must get court approval before moving the children out of state.

In most cases, parents are assigned physical custody or legal custody. If the parent has physical custody, the child officially lives with this parent.

The other parent has legal custody and gets to have some say in the children’s upbringing.

Scenarios Where Parental Relocation May Be Necessary

In cases where the custodial parent is seeking to move out of state with the child, the court can be reluctant to grant this relocation request.

If a custodial parent wants to relocate, it may result in a severe limitation of the other spouse’s rights to be with the child. The courts have created a high burden, and one that very few custodial parents are able to meet to the court’s satisfaction.

Custody Issues Are Complicated

There are many situations where custody can be challenged. After a divorce, one parent may have financial difficulties or get remarried.

They could get a new job where they need to move to a new area. The court also weighs the wishes of the children.

If there is violence or other abuse involved, the courts may hold an emergency hearing where they remove custody or visitation privileges from a parent. If neither parent is able to care for the children, custody could be awarded to the grandparents.

In order to be successful in a custody relocation case, the relocating parent must show that the relocation for the child is in the child’s best interest.  The court will look at:

  • the effect on the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent if the relocation were to occur;
  • the reasons why the custodial parent wishes to relocate the child which can include contact with extended family members, economic stability, and employment opportunities;
  • how severely the relocation will affect the non-custodial parent’s visitation with the child.

Childnapping, Kidnapping & Abduction in Virginia

Unfortunately, there are also cases where a parent takes a child from the custodial parent without getting permission from the courts or agreement from the other parent.

This is more than just a custody issue. There are very serious ramifications when a parent tries to take custody without going through the court system.

When one parent who does not have primary custody or legal custody takes the child, this could result in a misdemeanor criminal charge. If the parent takes the child outside Virginia, the charge could be upgraded to a felony.

The charges could include a Class 6 Felony and contempt of court.

We cannot promise specific results, and the relocation issue is a challenging one. However, we will use all of our experience and skill to get the results you desire.

If you need an attorney to help you sort out these issues and get the best results possible, contact Cravens & Noll. Our Virginia parental relocation attorneys have the experience to help you get the best possible results regarding relocation and child custody.


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Family Law | Richmond, VA

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