The laws regarding the relocation of a parent that has custody of a child are very strict in the state of Virginia. A custodial parent planning to move out of the state is required to inform the non-custodial parent and the court at least 30 days prior to their relocation. A non-custodial parent may request that the court deny the parent’s relocation or even file for a change in custody.
Before a judge approves move out of state, he/she will consider the custody and visitation arrangements of the case. This is in order to ensure that the move out of state is in the child’s best interest. In the state of Virginia, a judge will consider ten main factors that help him/her decide what is in the child’s best interest.
- Age, mental and physical condition of the child.
- Age, mental and physical condition of both caretakers.
- Relationship between the child and both of the caretakers
- Needs of the minor, and relationship with other significant people such as siblings, grandparents and friends.
- Current and future role of either caretaker in the upbringing of the minor
- The ability of both caretakers to cooperate and resolve any issues involving the minor and the tendency of a caretaker to support the relationship of their minor with the other caretaker.
- The preference of the minor
- The ability of a caretaker to maintain a relationship with the minor
- History of abuse (minor, sexual, spousal etc.)
- Anything a judge deems fit to be considered a factor.
A non-custodial caretaker may ask the court in Virginia to change the terms of a custody order if they disagree with the relocation. In this case, the court requires that the relocating caretaker prove that the circumstances of the move are in the minor’s best interest. A higher-paying job is not sufficient proof for a judge to allow move out of state.
Having sole care does not give a caretaker the automatic right to relocate out of state borders. They are still obligated to inform the court, the non-custodial caretaker and any person that obtains a legal right to visitation.
If there is no custody order in place, any guardian can relocate out of the state and take the minor with them. This is not considered parental kidnapping.
The court of Virginia has jurisdiction on any relocation cases if the minor has resided within state borders for the last six months.
When a custodial guardian is allowed to relocate, the terms of visitation will differ from what they normally are. A custodial parent should consider that if they do decide to relocate, longer visitation time will most likely be awarded to the non-custodial parent. For example, if the parent relocates to California, the other parent may be granted the entire summer break as visitation. In addition, it is a general rule in Virginia that the relocating parent is required to pay the costs of visitation such as plane rides or accommodation of the non-custodial parent.
If you need a Virginia Child Custody lawyer to help you with your Child Custody case in Virginia, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Virginia Child Custody attorneys can help you. C