Out of State

Indiana Out-Of-State Move Custody Attorney

There are many reasons a person may be inclined to pack up and start a new life somewhere else. Commonly, it’s a job opportunity, but it can also be because of a medical need, a new relationship, an ailing family member, the chance to start fresh, or simply a desire for a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, the situation gets significantly more complicated if you have a custody agreement with a former spouse. How the move affects someone else’s parenting time, and your child’s life, are important factors that must be considered.

If you’re a custodial parent looking to relocate, your decision will be guided by the Indiana Notice of Intent to Relocate statute. Anyone involved in a custody order, parenting time order, grandparent visitation order, or child support order is required by the statute to file a notice with the proper court outlining their intent. This is true even if you are simply moving across the street or around the corner. In most cases, the parent who wishes to move needs to send official notice to the non-relocating parent at least 90 days before the moving date. The notice needs to include all pertinent location information, such as the new street address, mailing address (if different), and new phone number. It also needs to include the date that the move is planned and a brief statement describing the reason for the move. Because the move will, by nature, affect the current custody schedule, a proposal for how best to revise the schedule is necessary. The notice must contain a clear statement that the non-relocating person has 60 days after receipt to file an objection to the child’s relocation and may also file a petition to modify the order.

Following these rules does not necessarily guarantee a smooth transition, however. The non-custodial parent may object to the move, in which case both parties have to present evidence of their side at a hearing, with the burden of proof placed on the parent wishing to relocate. If the judge deems the need for relocation legitimate, it becomes the responsibility of the other parent to prove the move is not in the best interests of the child.

No court has the power to order the relocating person to stay in town, but no matter what the current custody division is, modifications might be a necessary byproduct of parental relocation. This may even mean giving primary custody to the non-relocating person. It should be noted that with any relocation objection comes the willingness on the part of the non-custodial parent to take on primary custody if the court rules in his or her favor. 
Indiana courts will consider the following factors:

  • The distance involved.
  • Any expense or other potential hardship imposed on the non-relocating person that would negatively affect the ability to exercise parenting time or visitation.
  • How feasible relationship preservation will be for the child and the non-relocating person.
  • Whether the relocating individual has a history of promoting or discouraging the non-custodial individual’s contact with the child.
  • The reason for relocating and the reason for objecting.
  • Anything else the judge thinks may affect the child’s interests, including the age of the child and whether he or she wants to move.

Each case is different, but generally the court rules in favor of whatever maximizes quality time with each parent. If the proposed move is just a couple of hours away, adjusting the schedule isn’t often as complex as if the move is across the country. Sometimes it is just a matter of adding some weekends and vacations to the current custody arrangement. However, if the distance is significant, it’s common for the court to decide that there is value in spending considerable time with the other parent in the form of all vacations from school as well as ensuring extended lengths of time during routine visits. There is another solution, albeit not common, which is that all the custodial individuals move. This isn’t usually feasible, but in some amicable custodial situations it may be worth considering.

We Can Help

Whatever your situation, the New Albany, IN child relocation lawyers at McNeely Stephenson can help. We understand the issues and can guide you through the custody process, no matter how difficult or hopeless it may seem. We will work closely with you and help you make the best decisions possible. We have worked with many families, and we look forward to working with yours. For skilled and knowledgeable representation, contact us by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form. We proudly serve communities throughout Kentucky and Indiana including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY; Floyd County, IN; Clark County, IN; and Harrison County, IN.