What Are the Restrictions on a Custodial Parent Relocating With the Children?

When a custodial parent moves, it can disrupt the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the children. The current parenting time order may no longer work if the move involves much distance.  There is comprehensive statutory section of codes covering relocations. This blog explores a custodial parent’s restrictions and/or limitations on relocating with the child and what the non-custodial parent must do after learning of an intention to move—if the noncustodial parent chooses to oppose it.

Indiana Code § 31-17-2.2 governs relocation of both the custodial and the non-custodial parent. The code provides, in part, that a relocating individual must file a notice of the intent to move with the clerk of the court that: “. . . (1) issued the custody order or parenting time order; or (2) if subdivision (1) does not apply, has jurisdiction over the legal proceedings concerning the custody of or parenting time with a children (b) A relocating individual is not required to file a notice of intent to move with the clerk of the court if: (1) the relocation has been addressed by a prior court order, including a court order relieving the relocating individual of the requirement to file a notice; or (2) the relocation will: (A) result in a decrease in the distance between the relocating individual's residence and the nonrelocating individual's residence; or (B) result in an increase of not more than twenty (20) miles in the distance between the relocating individual's residence and the nonrelocating individual's residence; and allow the child to remain enrolled in the child's current school.”

This notice must be filed 30 days before the move, or 14 days after the relocating party becomes aware of the move, whichever is sooner. Among other information, the notice must include the new address, the intended date of the move, and the specific reasons for the move. The statute is written this way so non-custodial parents have the time to obtain counsel and oppose the move if that is the desire of the non-custodial parent.   That said, it is very unlikely the court would modify custody or otherwise act on the move if it is in near proximity to the relocating parent’s current home. 

Once this notice is filed, the other party may, within 20 days, request a hearing to prevent the relocation or to modify custody of the child. At the hearing, the judge will consider not only the factors pertaining to the best interests of the child, but also factors directly related to the move, such as distance, hardship and expense of the non-relocating individual in exercising parenting time, any pattern of conduct by the relocating party to interfere with the relationship between the child and non-relocating party, and the reasons for the move, as well as reasons for opposing the move. The party intending to relocate will be required to prove that the proposed move is in good faith and for legitimate reasons.  Once established, the burden of proof shift to the non-custodial parent. 

Indiana courts have found that relocating for employment opportunities, to be closer to family, or to live with a new spouse are all legitimate reasons to move. However, all families are different, and each case will depend on the specific circumstances of the move and the child’s adjustment to his or her current home, school, and environment. When making determinations that affect a child’s life, the court’s main concern is always the best interests of the child. What is best for one child, may not be best for another. 

If you are planning to relocate with your child or have received notice that your child’s other parent intends to relocate, the experienced attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. can help you file the required notice or objection and fight for you if a hearing is held.

This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C.  It is for general educational purposes.  It is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice.  This is an advertisement.


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