If your child’s other parent intends to move out of Virginia, you may have questions and concerns about child custody arrangements. In some cases, custody modification can address the potential impact of the move on your child’s well-being.
It is important to understand the process of modifying child custody when one parent plans to move out of state.
Evaluate the proposed move
Consider the potential impact of the move on your child, including factors such as the distance, the reason for the move and how it may affect their routine, school and social life. If the move is relatively close and unlikely to be a major disruption, seeking custody modification may not be necessary.
Maintain open communication
Have an honest conversation with your co-parent. Discuss their plans and express your concerns, if any. Try to reach a mutual agreement that addresses both parents’ needs while prioritizing the child’s best interests.
Review the existing custody order
Your current order may contain provisions related to parental relocation. Some agreements require the custodial parent to provide notice and get the other parent’s consent before moving a certain distance away. Ensure you understand the terms of your current custody order and see if it addresses the situation at hand.
File a legal petition
If the proposed move significantly impacts your child’s life or violates the terms of your existing custody order, you can file a court petition to modify custody. The court will evaluate the circumstances with a focus on the child’s best interests. Your request for custody modification should emphasize how the move will negatively affect the child’s physical, emotional and social development.
Mediation can help parents resolve custody modifications without going to court. According to Virginia’s Division of Dispute Resolution, more than 7,700 families used mediation for custody, visitation and child support issues in 2022. About 66% of those cases reached an agreement outside of court.