A new job, going back to school, or a promising new relationship are all valid and compelling reasons that drive many people to “pull up stakes” and make a trek across town – or across the country. These moves can be strenuous and stressful in and of themselves: when you have children, the stress only multiples. When you are a single parent, however, there are even more things you must consider and address before the move is completed.
Whether you are the residential custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, communication with the other parent and with the court is essential to avoiding protracted legal disputes when you intend to move. Consider the following tips:
Maintain Open Lines of Communication with the Other Parent
If at all possible, attempt to maintain open lines of communication with the other parent so that important information can be exchanged in a timely manner. You should have the other parent’s current address, telephone number, e-mail address, and a way to reach him or her in case of an emergency – and the other parent should have this same information for you. While you do not need to be friends with the other parent, the two of you should foster a relationship in which you can inform each other of anticipated changes ahead of time and avoid surprising one another.
Notify the Other Parent of the Anticipated Change as Soon as Possible
If you anticipate needing to move, provide as much notification to the other parent as possible. If you are moving to another town – and certainly if you are moving to another state – you will likely need to provide the court with notification of the move as well. (Prior court orders and/or your parenting plan may address what notification is required in this situation: when in doubt, contact your attorney about your exact obligations.) The notification should be provided in writing via certified mail so that you have a record that the other parent was notified. Even if the conversation is less-than-pleasant, by providing early notification you give the other parent a chance to object and have the matter decided by a court before you actually have to move. This can make moving day much easier and less stressful.
Discuss Whether the Parenting Plan Needs Modification
At the same time that you discuss your plans to move with the other parent, the two of you should also discuss whether the existing parenting time and visitation orders need modification as well. For example, you may need to move away from weekend visitation and instead have visitation every other week or for an extended weekend every month with extended parenting time in the summer. If you were used to exchanging custody of your children at a particular location, this location may need to be moved. If you are moving away from the other parent and are causing the other parent to incur additional expenses in exercising his or her visitation time, you may need to discuss how those costs can be offset in other ways. Generally speaking, as long as your modifications appear fair and reasonable, are reduced to writing, and are signed by both parties, courts will adopt your proposed modifications. Otherwise, the court will need to make its own determination as to whether a modification is necessary.
If you are a single parent in Wichita looking to move – or if you are a single parent looking to move to Wichita – and have divorce or custody orders regarding your child, contact the Wichita Family Law Attorney at the Weber Law Office for assistance. We can review your orders with you and advise you on what steps you ought to take to make your move as easy as possible. Contact our office for assistance by calling (316) 265-7802 today.